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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American railroads register carload gains during year's fifth week, AAR says

So far in 2006, U.S. railroads aren’t showing any signs of a traffic slowdown. During the year’s first five weeks, the roads boosted carloads 4.1 percent to 1.7 million units and increased intermodal loads 6.2 percent to 1.1 million units compared with 2005’s first five weeks, according to Association of American Railroads data. Total estimated volume of 163 billion ton-miles rose 5.8 percent.

During the week ending Feb. 4, U.S. railroads moved 344,032 carloads, up 4.1 percent, and 233,481 trailers and containers, up 6.7 percent compared with the same 2005 period.

Canadian railroads had an up and down week. During the seven-day period ending Feb. 4, the roads’ carloads dropped 2.5 percent to 74,156 units but intermodal loads increased 1.6 percent to 42,972 units compared with 2005’s fifth week.

However, the railroads’ year-to-date traffic remains on the plus side. Through five weeks, Canadian roads’ carloads totaling 364,103 units and intermodal loads totaling 209,066 units increased 1.4 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, compared with 2005’s first five weeks.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through five weeks, 13 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads moved 2 million carloads, up 3.6 percent, and 1.3 million trailers and containers, up 6 percent compared with the same 2005 period.

Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V. (KCSM) also got off to a good start this month. During February’s first week, the railroad moved 9,029 carloads, up 2 percent, and 4,158 trailers and containers, up 1.3 percent compared with the same 2005 week. But KCSM still has some catching up to do in the year-over-year traffic department. Through five weeks, the railroad’s carloads dropped 12.1 percent to 36,938 units and intermodal loads decreased 10.7 percent to 16,650 units compared with 2005’s first five weeks.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/13/2006