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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RailAmerica's carloads rose, Genesee & Wyoming's fell in January


Today, RailAmerica Inc. reported January carloads totaling 71,737, up 4 percent compared with January 2011. Same-railroad carloads increased 3.2 percent.

The company — which owns 43 regionals and short lines in the United States and Canada — registered gains in seven of 12 commodity groups. The largest gainers were motor vehicles, up 101.9 percent to 1,573 units;  “other” traffic, up 65.5 percent to 3,766 units; forest products, up 22.8 percent to 4,176 units; waste and scrap materials, up 14.7 percent to 4,427 units; and metallic ores and metals, up 14.4 percent to 5,792 units.

Other traffic primarily was driven by a non-recurring move in the Central Region involving a Class I partner that diverted traffic to one of the company’s railroads, RailAmerica officials said in a prepared statement. Forest products traffic increased in the West and Northeast regions, and motor vehicles rose in the West and Midwest regions.
Coal carloads fell 12.2 percent to 12,203, primarily in the Central Region, because of mild winter weather, while petroleum carloads decreased 6.3 percent to 3,851, primarily in the West Region, RailAmerica officials said.

Meanwhile, Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) yesterday reported January carloads totaling 72,887, down 11.9 percent compared with January 2011. Same-railroad carloads dipped 13.9 percent for the company, which owns 65 regionals and short lines in the United States, Australia, Canada, Netherlands and Belgium.

Although metals traffic jumped 21.9 percent to 8,946 units and chemicals/plastics traffic rose 16.2 percent to 5,653 units, coal and coke traffic plunged 40.2 percent to 11,279 units; other traffic fell 31.3 percent to 5,114 units; metallic ores traffic tumbled 22.9 percent to 1,731 units; and autos and parts traffic dropped 20.1 percent to 701 units.

In addition, intermodal traffic declined 24.5 percent to 3,528 units primarily because of lower volume in the Australia Region resulting from the Edith River bridge outage, GWI officials said in a prepared statement. The bridge, which was damaged Dec. 27 when a Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd. train derailed in flood waters associated with Cyclone Grant, is slated to reopen Feb. 29, they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/14/2012