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4/2/2004



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR carload data: U.S., Canadian roads on right traffic path, TFM a bit off course



U.S. railroads continue to build traffic in 2004. During the week ended March 27, the roads moved 342,001 carloads and 208,810 intermodal loads, a 3.1 percent and 8.3 percent increase, respectively, compared with the same 2003 week, according to Association of American Railroads data released April 1. Total volume was estimated at 30.8 billion ton-miles, up 4.4 percent.

During 2004's first 12 weeks, U.S. roads moved 3,952,648 carloads, up 3 percent, and 2,374,604 trailers and containers, up 7.1 percent compared with the same 2003 period. Estimated total volume of 354.2 billion ton-miles rose 4.4 percent.

Canadian roads are increasing traffic, too — especially intermodal loads, which had been lagging behind 2003's pace. During the week ended March 27, the roads moved 71,515 carloads, and 43,065 containers and trailers, a 6.3 percent and 0.4 percent rise compared with the same 2003 week. Coal and agricultural-product carloads increased 25.4 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

During the year's first 12 weeks, Canadian roads moved 789,553 carloads, up 6.2 percent, and 470,549 trailers and containers, down 2 percent compared with a similar 2003 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 12 weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 4,742,201 carloads, and 2,845,153 trailers and containers, a 3.5 percent and 5.5 percent increase, respectively, compared with last year.

Meanwhile, TFM S.A. de C.V. is continuing its traffic struggles. During the week ended March 27, TFM's carloads and intermodal loads dropped 11 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, compared with the same 2003 week. Through 2004's first 12 weeks, TFM moved 99,439 carloads, down 7.6 percent, and 41,556 trailers and containers, down 6.6 percent compared with last year.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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