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Rail News: Intermodal

AAR weekly data shows U.S. railroads register carload gain - a rare occurrence in '07

Here's a refreshing change for U.S. railroads: Carloads increased last week. During the period ending Sept. 22, the roads originated 339,266 carloads, up 0.2 percent compared with traffic from 2006's 38th week, according to the Association of American Railroads.

However, intermodal traffic totaling 249,840 containers and trailers decreased 2.5 percent year over year.

"Class I traffic remains soft, but may be starting to stabilize somewhat versus easier comparisons," said Bank of America Securities analyst Scott Flower in the firm's weekly rail traffic report. "Persistent weakness in housing related volumes, such as lumber and wood, crushed stone and metals, continue to pressure traffic trends, while strength in grain and chemical carloadings are mitigating the impact of the decline."

Through 2007's first 38 weeks, U.S. railroads originated 12.4 million carloads, down 3.3 percent, and 8.8 million containers and trailers, down 1.9 percent compared with traffic during the same 2006 period. Total estimated volume fell 1.8 percent to 1.27 trillion ton-miles.

Canadian railroads had a good week on two counts. During the period ending Sept. 22, their originated carloads rose 3.6 percent to 83,624 units and intermodal loads increased 4.6 percent to 50,853 units compared with traffic from the same week in 2006.

Through 38 weeks, Canadian roads originated 3 million carloads, down 1 percent, and 1.8 million containers and trailers, up 2.9 percent year over year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 38 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 15.3 million carloads, down 2.9 percent, and 10.5 million containers and trailers, down 1.2 percent compared with traffic during 2006's first 38 weeks.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/28/2007