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Weather a damper on U.S. railroads' October carloads, AAR says


A second-straight stormy month was too much for U.S. railroads to overcome. In October, the roads’ carloads totaled 1.3 million units, a 2.8 percent decrease compared with October 2004, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

"Residual effects of the hurricanes in Texas and the Gulf Coast, heavy rains in Kansas that washed out key tracks and damaged bridges, and other weather-related problems negatively affected rail traffic in October," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement.

However, U.S. railroads continued to boost intermodal traffic last month. The roads moved 987,899 trailers and containers, up 6.3 percent compared with October 2004.

During 2005’s first 10 months, U.S. railroads moved 14.3 million carloads, up 1 percent, and 9.6 million intermodal loads, up 6.3 percent compared with the same 2004 period. Total estimated volume of 1.40 trillion ton-miles rose 2.6 percent.

Canadian railroads experienced a similar October. The roads’ carloads totaling 313,667 units dropped 3.3 percent, but intermodal loads totaling 188,741 units increased 6 percent compared with October 2004.

Through 10 months, Canadian railroads’ carloads dropped 0.8 percent to 3.3 million units and intermodal loads rose 3.2 percent to 1.8 million units compared with the same 2004 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 43 weeks, 13 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads moved 17.6 million carloads, up 0.7 percent, and 11.5 million trailers and containers, up 5.8 percent compared with 2004’s first 43 weeks.

In Mexico, TFM S.A. de C.V.’s traffic woes continued. In October, the railroad’s carloads fell 14 percent to 32,292 units and intermodal loads dropped 8.2 percent to 16,381 units compared with October 2004. Through 43 weeks, TFM moved 360,241 carloads, down 3.8 percent, and 165,419 intermodal loads, up 2.5 percent compared with the same 2004 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/4/2005