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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. roads scored seventh-straight monthly carload gain in September

U.S. Class Is in September originated 1,190,431 carloads, up 2.7 percent compared with September 2013. It was the roads' seventh-straight month with a year-over-year gain, “something that hasn’t happened since early 2011,” according to Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Fifteen of 20 commodity categories posted increases, led by petroleum and petroleum products at 28.1 percent, crushed stone, gravel and sand at 12.6 percent, primary metal products at 7 percent and grain at 4.1 percent — the 12th-straight monthly gain for grain traffic.

The Class Is also registered 1,073,042 containers and trailers in September, up 4.5 percent. The month’s second, third and fourth weeks were the three highest-volume intermodal weeks in history, AAR officials said in a press release.

"As has generally been the case in recent months, U.S. freight-rail traffic in September was consistent with an economy that's growing at a steady pace," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. "We think that will probably continue for the foreseeable future."

Through 2014’s first 39 weeks, U.S. railroads registered 11,322,823 carloads, up 3.5 percent, and 10,077,330 intermodal units, up 5.5 percent compared with the same 2013 period. Canadian railroads logged 3,102,252 carloads, up 1.3 percent, and 2,232,368 intermodal units, up 7.1 percent, while Mexican railroads posted 609,121 carloads, up 1.7 percent, and 408,512 intermodal units, up 4.2 percent.

Through 39 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 15,034,196 carloads, up 3 percent, and 12,718,210 containers and trailers, up 5.8 percent compared with the same 2013 period.

For just the week ending Sept. 27, U.S. railroads originated 301,863 carloads, up 1.6 percent, and 275,071 intermodal units, up 2 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year. Canadian railroads’ weekly carloads dipped 0.2 percent to 86,881 units, but their intermodal volume climbed 7.5 percent to 62,532 units. For Mexican railroads, weekly carloads rose 3.4 percent to 15,680 units and intermodal volume inched up 0.7 percent to 12,372 units.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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