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A Short Line Railroad Association was first organized in 1910, and 22 railroads formed the Short Line Railroad Association of the Southeast in 1913. The group became a national association, serving 177 members by 1918. In 1920, the Western Association of Short Line Railroads affiliated with this Association. This is a non-profit, unincorporated association, whose actions are advisory only and nonbinding upon its members. Members are Class I and II line-haul, switching and terminal companies in 43 states.

The American Short Line Railroad Association, with stated objectives to "...provide cooperative action in the consideration and solutions of problems of management and policy affecting...short line railroads..." and "...to promote Federal legislation of benefit and resist the enactment of legislation that would be detrimental to the railroad industry," has deposited in the Cornell University Department of Manuscripts and University Archives records documenting the history of the association and its member roads, 1912-1967.

Formally organized in 1913, although a predecessor was formed in 1910, the first section of this listing is a record of the association itself, its internal operation and general reference and technical records. With the membership fluctuating as roads felt the need for cooperative action in the face of Federal legislation and for a statuatory agent to represent them in Washington, as required by the provisions of the Interstate Commerce Act, service was provided to the varied interests of short linehaul roads, switching and terminal companies and these records are divided into two sections, active and inactive and non-member roads.