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11/9/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

October freight traffic figures provide U.S. rails a small ray of light, AAR says


Coal, metallic ores and grain moves helped U.S. freight railroads increase carloads 0.9 percent (15,980 carloads) last month compared with October 2000, according to data released Nov. 8 by Association of American Railroads.


Coal carloads rose 4.2 percent, metallic ores, 15.5 percent, and grain, 5.6 percent, helping offset drops in motor vehicles and equipment (8.3 percent), chemicals (4.5 percent) and primary metals including steel (8.1 percent).


Although carload traffic increased, U.S. intermodal traffic dropped 3.5 percent (34,184 trailers and containers) last month compared with October 2000.


"The fact that rail traffic actually increased slightly in October is a testament to the railroads' vastly improved service and the innovative service offerings they have been rolling out in recent months," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement.


For 2001's first 10 months, U.S. rails moved 14,701,063 carloads, down 1.2 percent, and 7,612,029 trailers and containers, dipping 2.8 percent, compared with a similar 2000 period. AAR estimates total volume through 44 weeks at 1.26 trillion ton-miles, rising 0.6 percent.


Meanwhile, Canadian rails last month moved 4.1 percent fewer carloads, but 1.6 percent more trailers and containers compared with October 2000. Through the year's first 10 months, Canadian roads moved 2,721,484 carloads (down 2.1 percent), and 1,556,577 trailers and containers (up 2.1 percent).


On a combined cumulative volume basis, 16 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads through 2001's first 44 weeks moved 17,422,547 carloads — dropping 1.3 percent (238,060 carloads) — and 9,168,606 trailers and containers, declining 2 percent (189,957 trailers and containers), compared with 2000's first 44 weeks.











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