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1/11/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Not so happy new year: North American freight roads record first-week traffic decline


North American freight railroads are off to an inauspicious start in 2002.

On U.S. roads, carload freight totaled 250,489 cars for the week ended Jan. 5, down 7.7 percent from the same 2001 period, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data released Jan. 10. Volume was down 12.8 percent in the East and 4.1 percent in the West. Intermodal traffic, which isn’t included in the carload data, totaled 115,879 trailers and containers, down 11.7 percent.

Coal — which was up 0.9 percent — was the only commodity group (of 19) reporting an increase in loadings.

Total first-week volume was 21.7 billion ton-miles, down 6.5 percent compared with the same 2001 period. Both this year’s week and the 2001 comparison week included the New Year’s holiday.

Carload and intermodal traffic also were down on Canadian railroads. For the week ended Jan. 5, intermodal traffic totaled 23,099 trailers and containers, down 11.6 percent compared with the same period last year. Carload volume was 43,684 cars, down 12.3 percent.

For the 16 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads, volume totaled 294,173 carloads for the week ended Jan. 5, down 8.4 percent compared with the same period last year, and 138,978 trailers and containers, down 11.7 percent.

Meanwhile, carload freight on Mexico’s Transportación Ferroviaria Mexicana S.A. de C.V. (TFM) totaled 9,993 cars originated or received from connecting lines, down 16.7 percent compared with the same 2001 period. TFM also reported intermodal volume of 3,757 trailers and containers, up 171.5 percent.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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