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Rail News: Intermodal

Storms, floods do a number on U.S. railroads' weekly carloads, AAR says


Severe late winter storms and flooding in parts of the nation made it a slow go for U.S. railroads last week. During the period ending March 22, the roads originated 323,536 carloads, down 3.3 percent, and 210,914 intermodal loads, down 5.2 percent compared with totals from the same week in 2007, according to Association of American Railroads data.

Only five of 19 carload commodities registered year-over-year gains, including metallic ores, grain and coal.

However, the slow week didn't put year-to-date carloads into the red. Through 2008's first 12 weeks, U.S. roads originated 3.8 million carloads, up 0.8 percent vs. 2007. Intermodal volume totaling 2.6 million containers and trailers declined 4.2 percent and estimated volume totaling 397.1 billion ton-miles rose 1.9 percent compared with figures from 2007's first 12 weeks.

Canadian railroads didn't have a good week, either. During the period ending March 22, their carloads decreased 6.7 percent to 75,108 units and intermodal volume fell 7.1 percent to 45,897 units vs. last year.

Through 12 weeks, Canadian railroads originated 874,798 carloads, down 2.2 percent, and 544,306 containers and trailers, up 4.9 percent year over year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 12 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 4.7 million carloads, up 0.2 percent, and 3.1 million intermodal loads, down 2.7 percent compared with totals from the same 2007 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/28/2008