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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. carloads climbed, intermodal loads dropped in year's fifth week


U.S. railroads logged mixed traffic results in February’s first week, which ended Feb. 7. Their carloads rose 4.7 percent to 273,648 units but their intermodal volume fell 3.3 percent to 237,915 units compared with figures from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total U.S. weekly traffic inched up 0.8 percent to 511,563 units. Eight of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by grain at 15.9 percent, nonmetallic mineral at 8.7 percent and forest products at 7.3 percent.

Union Pacific Railroad reported that its carloads in the week ending Feb. 7 dipped 1 percent to 172,269 primarily because Winter Storm Linus affected its network in the northern and southern regions, impacting both carloads and system velocity, which declined 1.1 mph from the previous week to 24.3 mph.

"While Chicago was recovering from its fifth largest snowfall in history, we were also repairing broken rails between Kansas and Texas. Our winter weather preparedness plan led to a strong response, including coordination with interchange partners in Chicago," UP officials said in a weekly service update. "Chicago's operations have nearly returned to normal, allowing us to restore normal traffic flows through the city."

Through 2015’s first five weeks, U.S. railroads handled 1,434,490 carloads, up 5.4 percent year over year. Their intermodal volume in the period was flat at 1,242,982 units.

For the week ending Feb. 7, Canadian railroads reported 75,456 carloads, up 7.3 percent, and 56,229 intermodal units, up 11 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads dipped 1.2 percent to 14,485 units but their intermodal volume rose 4.2 percent to 9,750 units.

Through five weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 3,491,897 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.5 percent compared with the same 2014 peri0d.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/12/2015