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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

UP: August PRB train loadings climbed to 20-month high


In August, Union Pacific Railroad loaded 1,054 coal trains in the Southern Powder River Basin (SPRB) — the highest monthly loadings since December 2008 and a slight increase vs. the 1,028 trains loaded in August 2009. The Class I averaged 34.0 trains per day, up from July’s average of 33.3 trains per day.

The railroad registered 116 missed SPRB loadings against National Coal Transportation Association (NCTA) demand in August, 44 of which were attributable to slow unloading operations at destination or other plant issues, 42 to mine production issues and 30 to UP, including an unplanned two-day bridge outage in the Falls City Subdisivion that impacted some empty trains, according to the Class I. Missed loadings were partially offset by 85 extra loadings and the railroad met 98 percent of NCTA demand for the month, UP officials said in a weekly coal loading performance report.

In the Colorado/Utah Region, UP loaded 221 coal trains in August compared with 252 trains in August 2009. The railroad averaged 7.1 trains per day vs. 6.7 trains per day in July.

Although loadings in the region were impacted by multiple longwall moves, high utility stockpiles for western bituminous coal, and lower demand from various utilities and industrial accounts, the railroad met 101.8 percent of NCTA demand for the month, the performance report states.