This Bureau of Mines study is intended to identify and evaluate potential effects of impending large-scale U.S. rail line closings (abandonment) on domestic nonfuel mineral industries. This is the first nationwide study of rail abandonment impacts focused on nonfuel minerals. The analysis presented is based principally on a survey of 200 rail freeight records and on statistical tests that correlated 2,000 points in the Bureau's mineral industry location system (mils) with 700 prospective abandonments throughout the United States. The conclusions derived from the analysis can be useful in evaluating proposed national rail abandonment policy and legislation regarding nonfuel mineral shipping. Among these conclusions are the following: (1) certain mineral materials (especially fertilizers) are likely to account for a large percentage of the rail traffic affected by abandonment in the next few years, but the total tonnage involved will be small; (2) abandonment will adversely affect some mineral shippers, particularly local short haulers; and (3) abandonment could significantly reduce the opportunity to develop new resources or reopen defunct mining facilities. Despite these problems, however, the data examined in this study do not indicate that current abandonment trends will cause widespread disruption of domestic nonfuel mineral shipping.