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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American railroads' traffic flourishes in February, AAR says

Any momentum U.S. railroads lost in January after posting unprecedented traffic figures in 2004, they regained in February. Last month, the roads moved 1,374,185 carloads, up 5.3 percent, and 885,038 trailers and containers, up 13.8 percent compared with February 2004, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

"The increase in February carloadings was the second-highest monthly year-over-year increase for U.S. railroads in more than seven years, trailing only a 5.8 percent increase in May 2004," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement. "Meanwhile, intermodal growth shows no sign of slowing down after a record-setting 2004."

During 2005's first two months, U.S. roads boosted carloads 2.3 percent to 2,668,265 units and increased intermodal loads 10.6 percent to 1,724,569 units compared with the same 2004 period. Total estimated volume of 247.5 billion ton-miles rose 3.1 percent.

February was a very good month for Canadian railroads, too. Their carloads rose 6 percent to 273,171 units and intermodal loads increased 8.8 percent to 169,113 units compared with February 2004. During the year's first eight weeks, Canadian roads moved 522,620 carloads, up 3.1 percent, and 325,955 trailers and containers, up 5 percent compared with last year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through eight weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 3,190,885 carloads and 2,050,524 intermodal loads, a 2.4 percent and 9.7 percent increase, respectively, compared with the same 2004 period.

In Mexico, TFM S.A. de C.V. registered stellar traffic figures in February after a so-so January. Last month, the road moved 35,781 carloads, up 13.1 percent, and 16,382 intermodal loads, up 11.8 percent compared with February 2004. Through eight weeks, TFM boosted carloads 8.4 percent to 68,959 units and increased intermodal loads 17.3 percent to 30,922 units compared with last year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/4/2005