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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Hot off the press: Railway Association of Canada's annual 'trends' report


On Oct. 14, Railway Association of Canada (RAC) released the 11th edition of its annual "Railway Trends" report, which tracks Canadian railroad's financial and statistical performance during the past decade.

In 2002, railroads originated 33.7 percent more carloads compared with 1993 but 0.6 percent less compared with 2001, according to the report. A "severe and prolonged drought" diminished Canada's 2002 grain crop to a 25-year low, dropping rail grain moves 24 percent compared with 2001, RAC President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Rowat said in a prepared statement.

Also, coal traffic was down, due in part to fewer exports and North American sales of metallurgical coal used to produce steel, the report said.

However, automotive traffic increased because of strong motor-vehicle production in both Canada and the United States. Intermodal traffic continued to grow last year, too.

Short-line traffic also continued to rise. In 1993, 474,122 carloads originated on short lines compared with 1.1 million carloads by year-end 2002, RAC said. Short lines' track miles also increased from 13.2 percent of Canada's total freight network to 27.9 percent during the same span, largely because Class Is sold low-density lines to small roads.

The report also found that roads' total revenue increased 1.1 percent last year — to a record high $8.1 billion — compared with 2001 and 25.7 percent compared with 1993; total 2002 operating expenses rose $96 million or 1.5 percent compared with the previous year; and railroads' workforce shrank 5.6 percent in 2002 compared with 2001, from 39,511 employees to 37,296.

RAC represents the interests of 60 member freight and passenger railroads.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/15/2003