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Aeronautics, Rail and Transit > Rail and Transit > Rail

There are 459 miles of active railroad in New Hampshire. The state is the largest railroad owner with over 200 miles of active line, purchased to preserve freight service to industry or promote tourism and economic development. Nine freight railroads operate in the state, and freight volumes have increased over the past several years. The short line and regional railroads that operate in New Hampshire provide an economical alternative to shippers, especially for heavy bulk commodities. Freight volume has been increasing dramatically across the country, and railroads can relieve highway congestion.


Passenger rail service in New Hampshire is provided by the Amtrak Downeaster (Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority), with stops in Dover, Durham, and Exeter, and the Vermonter, with a stop at Claremont Junction as well as Vermont communities in the Connecticut Valley.

In 2007, Governor John Lynch signed legislation creating the NH Rail Transit Authority, which is overseeing the development of passenger rail in New Hampshire.

Tourist excursion railroads also make an important contribution to the state's rail infrastructure, keeping the state-owned lines open and maintained and playing a key role in the tourism industry.

The state also owns about 300 miles of abandoned railroad corridors, purchased to preserve them for future transportation use. Most of these are used as recreation trails under the management of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Bureau of Trails.

Information on the state's management of its railroad properties is available for landowners, surveyors and others conducting research on railroad properties. Contact the Bureau at to receive information on available electronic maps of the railroad corridors or information on the procedures for crossings, leases or other property management questions.

The Bureau's Links include railroad companies and organizations that can provide more information on railroads. Documents available on our site include State Rail Map and the 2001 State Rail Plan, and well as other studies.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation
PO Box 483 | 7 Hazen Drive | Concord, NH | 03302-0483
Tel: 603.271-3734 | Fax: 603.271.3914

copyright 2015. State of New Hampshire