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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American freight railroads post another traffic decline


U.S. freight railroads logged another traffic plunge in the week ending Nov. 16, with volumes down 8.4 percent to 501,249 carloads and intermodal units compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads' (AAR) data.

Total U.S. carloads fell 8.9 percent to 239,647 units during the week, while intermodal volume declined 7.9 percent to 261,602 containers and trailers.

Only one of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted an increase. That was petroleum and petroleum products, up 1,357 carloads to 13,977.

Commodity group decreases included coal, down 13,610 carloads to 72,611; metallic ores and metals, down 4,729 carloads to 19,017; and nonmetallic minerals, down 3,069 carloads to 30,184.

Canadian freight railroads also reported traffic declines during the week, with carloads down 4.4 percent to 82,975 units, and intermodal containers and trailers down 6.8 percent to 65,188 units.

Meanwhile, Mexican railroads logged 20,064 carloads for the week, down 5.6 percent, and 17,979 intermodal units, up 3.7 percent.

For the first 46 weeks of 2019 compared with the same week in 2018:
• U.S. railroads reported 23,827,111 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.5 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported 6,972,827 carloads, containers and trailers, up 0.3 percent;
• Mexican railroads reported 1,740,035 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.7 percent; and
• North American railroads' combined freight-rail traffic 32,539,973 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.4 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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