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AAR: U.S. roads logged their ninth-straight monthly carload gain in November


U.S. Class Is in November originated 1,161,820 carloads, up 1.4 percent compared with November 2013 volume — the ninth consecutive month the railroads posted a year-over-year carload gain, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The roads' intermodal traffic rose 2.7 percent last month to 1,035,054 containers and trailers, and their weekly average volume of 258,764 intermodal units was the highest for any November in history.

For the month, carloads climbed in 11 of 20 carload commodity categories, led by metallic ores at 19.8 percent, crushed stone, sand and gravel at 16.8 percent, petroleum and petroleum products at 7.6 percent, and coke at 5 percent. The weekly average total volume of 549,219 carloads and intermodal units was the highest weekly average for a November since 2007, AAR officials said in a press release.

"It's not always easy to tell from available indicators how the economy is performing and that is true for rail traffic in November, when some traffic categories showed solid growth, and others not so much," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. "[Yet] today, railroads are moving more traffic than at any time since 2007."

Through 2014’s first 11 months, U.S. railroads handled 13,992,560 carloads, up 3.4 percent, and 12,494,133 intermodal units, up 5.2 percent compared with the same 2013 period. For just the week ending Nov. 29, U.S. roads originated 271,659 carloads, up 6.2 percent, and 220,873 units, up 6.2 percent year over year.

For the same week, Canadian railroads’ carloads dipped 1.5 percent to 78,722 and their intermodal volume slipped 0.1 percent to 55,578 units, while Mexican railroads’ carloads increased 3.5 percent to 16,319 and intermodal volume climbed 16 percent to 11,561 units.

Through 11 months, Canadian railroads registered 3,874,796 carloads, up 1.8 percent, and 2,749,265 intermodal units, up 6.1 percent; and Mexican railroads registered 758,341 carloads, up 3.1 percent, and 514,304 intermodal units, up 5.6 percent.

Combined North American rail volume through 48 weeks shows 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 18,625,697 carloads, up 3.1 percent, and 15,757,702 containers and trailers, up 5.4 percent compared with the same 2013 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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