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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. railroads registered more traffic gains in week No. 50


During the week ending Dec. 17, U.S. railroads originated 304,377 carloads, up 11.7 percent, and 233,322 containers and trailers, up 6 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Fourteen of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by metallic ores (57.1 percent), nonmetallic minerals (38 percent), and crushed stone, sand and gravel (29 percent). The relatively strong growth in the year’s 50th week primarily was a result of easier comparisons with weaker volumes from the same week last year, but traffic shows underlying freight trends are steady and supports a slow-growth trajectory in the near term, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“All commodities showed improved growth rates compared with their fourth-quarter-to-date averages,” they said. “Improved coal volumes and continued strength in industrial-related carloads led the way, offsetting contraction in agricultural products.”

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported week No. 50 carloads totaling 77,392, up 8.3 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 49,118 units, up 11.6 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads fell 5.3 percent to 13,436 units, but intermodal volume climbed 21.3 percent to 8,282 units.
Through 2011’s first 50 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 19.1 million carloads, up 2.3 percent, and 14.3 million containers and trailers, up 5 percent compared with volumes from the same 2010 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Dec. 17 and through 50 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/27/2011