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U.S. railroads originate record-setting number of carloads in May, AAR says

Topping 1.7 million, carloads originated by U.S. railroads in May reached an all-time high and increased 3.9 percent compared with May 2005's volume, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

During the month, metal product carloads totaling 71,982 rose 13.5 percent; coal carloads totaling 710,781 increased 10.2 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel carloads totaling 125,610 went up 6.9 percent; and grain carloads totaling 106,200 rose 2.1 percent compared with the same 2005 period.

“Average weekly coal carloadings on U.S. railroads in May were higher than in any month in history,” said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement.

U.S. roads had a banner month in the intermodal department, too. The railroads originated 1,167,578 trailers and containers, a 7.3 percent increase compared with May 2005.

During 2006’s first five months, U.S. railroads originated 7.4 million carloads, up 1.1 percent, and 5.1 million trailers and containers, up 6.2 percent compared with the same 2005 period. Total estimated volume of 731 billion ton-miles rose 2.3 percent.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads in May originated 376,003 carloads, a 3.2 percent decrease compared with May 2005. However, originated intermodal loads totaling 227,987 units rose 6 percent.

Through five months, Canadian roads originated 1.6 million carloads, down 2.4 percent, and 976,468 intermodal loads, up 5.2 percent compared with 2005’s first five months.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through five months, 13 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 9 million carloads, up 0.5 percent, and 6 million trailers and containers, up 6.1 percent compared with the same 2005 period.

In Mexico, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V. in May carried a total of 57,910 carloads, down 5.6 percent, and 21,011 trailers and containers, down 7.2 percent compared with May 2005. During 2006’s first five months, the railroad’s total carloads carried fell 5.8 percent and intermodal units carried dropped 7.1 percent compared with the same 2005 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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