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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. railroads set weekly freight volume record along with another intermodal traffic high-water mark, AAR says


U.S. railroads have been setting weekly intermodal traffic records throughout the year, and they did it again during the week ending Oct. 16. But now, the roads also are getting into the habit of breaking weekly total volume records. During the week ending Oct. 16, U.S. roads' volume totaled 33.1 billion ton-miles, breaking the record of 32.7 billion ton-miles set a week earlier, according to Association of American Railroads data.

The roads' intermodal traffic totaling 231,255 trailers and containers broke a three-week-old record of 231,025 trailers and containers set during the week ending Sept. 25. Intermodal volume rose 9.5 percent — with container and trailer traffic increasing 10.1 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively — compared with a similar 2003 week. Carloads totaling 354,224 units rose 2 percent.

During the year's first 41 weeks, U.S. roads moved 13,787,884 carloads, up 3 percent, and 8,606,432 trailers and containers, up 9.5 percent compared with last year. Total estimated volume of 1.2 trillion ton-miles rose 4 percent.

Canadian railroads didn't have a record-setting week, but their traffic figures were encouraging. Carloads totaling 67,268 units increased 2.9 percent and intermodal loads totaling 42,475 units rose 5.1 percent compared with similar 2003 data.

During 2004's first 41 weeks, Canadian roads' carloads totaled 2,745,241 units, a 7.9 percent increase, and intermodal loads totaled 1,714,170 units, a 0.2 percent rise compared with last year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 41 weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 16,533,125 carloads, up 3.8 percent, and 10,320,602 trailers and containers, up 7.9 percent compared with the same 2003 period.

Meanwhile, Mexico's TFM S.A. de C.V. finished off another week with strong traffic volume. During the week ending Oct. 16, the road's carloads totaled 9,447 units, up 14.1 percent, and intermodal loads totaled 4,274 units, up 23.2 percent compared with a similar 2003 week. Through 41 weeks, TFM increased carloads 2.8 percent to 355,920 units and intermodal loads, 5.7 percent to 152,185 units.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/22/2004