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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. roads' weekly carload average hit three-year high in October


In October, U.S. railroads originated 1.2 million carloads, up 1.7 percent compared with October 2010 volume, according to the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) latest “Rail Time Indicators” report. The roads also originated 975,566 containers and trailers, up 3.6 percent.

U.S. railroad registered their highest weekly carload average in any month since October 2008 and the highest weekly intermodal average since October 2006, the report states.
For the month, 12 of 20 carload commodity categories posted gains, including petroleum and petroleum products (19.44 percent), motor vehicles and parts (11.1 percent), and coal (1.1 percent).
“While there is clearly room for improvement, October rail traffic appears to indicate that we are still in a slowly growing economy,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a prepared statement. “Rail carloads of many key industrial commodities — chemicals, steel, petroleum products, crushed stone and gravel — are up, and higher rail shipments of autos and intermodal are consistent with a potential pickup on the consumer side of our economy.”
For just the week ending Oct. 29, the AAR reported U.S. carloads totaling 307,900, up 5.2 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 243,774 units, up 4.6 percent compared with traffic from the same 2010 period. Canadian railroads’ weekly carloads rose 5.1 percent to 80,569 and intermodal volume increased 3.4 percent to 51,670 units, while Mexican railroads weekly carloads fell 4.5 percent to 13,969 and intermodal volume tumbled 5.2 percent to 7,372 units.
Through 2011’s first 43 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 16.4 million carloads, up 2.1 percent, and 12.3 million containers and trailers, up 5 percent year over year.

For more October or year-to-date traffic data from the AAR, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/4/2011