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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic registered another drop in year's seventh week

For the week ending Feb. 15, U.S. railroads reported 270,632 carloads, down 2.9 percent, and 236,625 intermodal units, down 5.7 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total combined weekly traffic fell 4.3 percent to 507,257 units and only two of 10 carload commodity groups posted increases: petroleum/petroleum products at 7.9 percent and grain at 2.5 percent. Nonmetallic minerals and products volume declined 10.6 percent.

Severe winter weather remained a negative headwind to U.S. traffic volumes and railroads' operating metrics, including terminal dwell times and cars on line, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly "Rail Flash" report.

"CSX recently released a customer advisory alert noting it had experienced the worst winter weather impacts to its network in recent years, and that the railroad would further ramp up resources to mitigate network disruptions," they said.

Through 2014's first seven weeks, U.S. railroads handled 1,877,070 carloads, down 0.8 percent, and 1,666,024 intermodal units, up 0.1 percent on a year-over-year basis.

For the week ending Feb. 15, Canadian railroads reported 71,456 carloads, down 9.5 percent, and 55,317 intermodal units, up 2.8 percent compared with carloads from the same 2013 period. Mexican railroads' weekly carloads dipped 1.1 percent to 15,571 units but their intermodal volume rose 4.1 percent to 11,249 units.

Through seven weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 2,472,714 carloads, down 2 percent, and 2,079,757 containers and trailers, down 0.2 percent compared with carloads from the same 2013 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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