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AAR: North American rail traffic was strong in 2015's first full week


North American railroads ramped up traffic in 2015's first full week, which ended Jan. 10 U.S. roads registered 276,573 carloads, up 7.5 percent, and 240,947 intermodal loads, up 2.1 percent compared with volumes from the same week in 2014, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total U.S. traffic rose 4.9 percent to 517,520 units. Eight of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by nonmetallic minerals at 22 percent, metallic ores and metals at 17.6 percent, chemicals at 7 percent and coal at 4.2 percent.

Canadian railroads reported 74,742 carloads for the first week, up 11.5 percent, and 56,125 intermodal units, up 16.1 percent. Mexican railroads' carloads increased 4 percent to 15,139 units and their intermodal volume inched up 0.5 percent to 9,780 units.

Through 2015's first week, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 366,454 carloads, up 8.1 percent, and 306,852 intermodal units, up 4.3 percent compared with the same 2014 period.

Union Pacific Railroad on Tuesday reported 168,272 carloads for the first week ending Jan. 10, a 16 percent gain versus the prior week and 2 percent increase versus the same week in 2014.

Although extremely cold temperatures and some precipitation affected parts of the network during the week, better winter weather preparations helped mitigate the effects from storms and cold, UP officials said in a weekly service update. Velocity remained steady at 24.6 mph and cars on line rose slightly from the previous week to 297,654.

"Following the holidays, system terminal dwell has improved to 35.9 hours, which is down 3.5 hours compared to the previous week," UP officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/16/2015