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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American roads register sizeable traffic declines in April, AAR says


Make it four months in 2009 with weak U.S. rail traffic demand. In April, U.S. railroads originated 1.3 million carloads, down 23 percent, and 917,981 intermodal loads, down 17.9 percent compared with April 2008 totals, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

“Unfortunately, it’s hard to find much in rail traffic data in April to support the idea that the economy is starting to see ‘green shoots’ — it may still just be weeds,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a prepared statement. “That said, railroads are well positioned to do their part to get America moving again once the economy kicks into high gear.”

Canadian railroads had a rough month, too. In April, their carloads tumbled 26.4 percent to 296,721 units and intermodal volume plunged 18.2 percent to 201,418 units compared with April 2008 traffic.

Meanwhile, Mexican railroads reported a 29.2-percent drop in carload originations and 29.3-percent decline in intermodal originations in April.

For more information on North American railroads’ traffic through 2009’s first 17 weeks and in the week ending May 2, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/8/2009