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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American railroads continue to register weekly traffic gains


October’s first full week was another good one traffic-wise for U.S. railroads. During the week ending Oct. 9, they originated 297,029 carloads, up 8.8 percent, and 236,272 containers and trailers, up 13.1 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Fifteen of 19 commodity groups registered gains, including a whopping 199.7 percent jump in metallic ore carloads. Volume rose 4.7 percent in the East and 11.6 percent in the West.

Canadian railroads had a solid week, too, increasing carloads 10.9 percent to 75,084 units and boosting intermodal volume 15.1 percent to 52,120 units. For the week ending Oct. 9, Mexican railroads reported 13,573 carloads, up 16.2 percent, and 8,102 containers and trailers, up 14.9 percent year over year.

Through 2010’s first 40 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 14.9 million carloads, up 9.8 percent, and 10.8 million intermodal loads, up 15.1 percent compared with volumes from the same 2009 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Oct. 9 and through 40 weeks, follow this link.

Meanwhile, Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) reported September carloads totaling 72,121 units, up 13.4 percent compared with September 2009 volume.

The holding company — which owns and operates 62 regionals and short lines in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands — attributes the increase to stronger farm and food products traffic, especially grain in Australia. In addition, chemicals and plastics traffic in the Illinois and Southern regions, and coal, coke and ores traffic in the New York/Ohio/Pennsylvania region posted significant gains.

GWI also reported third-quarter carloads of 217,390 units, up 10.8 percent year over year. The primary drivers: farm and food products, and chemicals and plastics traffic.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/15/2010