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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

September carloads up for Genesee & Wyoming, down for RailAmerica


Yesterday, Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (GWI) reported September traffic volume of 83,608 carloads, up 13.3 percent compared with September 2010. Third-quarter traffic totaled 256,190 carloads, up 15.1 percent.

Excluding carloads from FreightLink in Australia, which GWI acquired in December 2010, same-railroad traffic increased 2.1 percent in September and 4.9 percent in the third quarter. The September gain primarily was driven by an increase in coal and coke traffic in the Illinois Region; overall, coal and coke carloads rose 11 percent to 18,821 units. Farm and food products traffic — which climbed 13.5 percent to 30,843 units — principally drove the third-quarter gain, GWI officials said in a prepared statement.

GWI owns and operates 64 regionals and short lines in the United States, Australia, Canada, Netherlands and Belgium.

For RailAmerica Inc., September carloads totaled 65,551 units, down 10 percent compared with September 2010. On a same-railroad basis, carloads decreased 10.5 percent for the company, which owns and operates 43 regionals and short lines in the United States and Canada.

The decline primarily was due to temporary maintenance downtime at a coal-fired utility plant served by the Missouri and Northern Arkansas (MNA), the timing of the fall harvest and service interruptions on the New England Central Railroad (NECR) caused by Hurricane Irene, RailAmerica officials said in a prepared statement. Coal carloads fell 33.2 percent to 10,225 units and agricultural products carloads declined 21.3 percent to 8,403 units.

“Despite lower carloads, we achieved high, single-digit total revenue growth for the third quarter due to favorable pricing, as well as continued strength in non-freight revenue,” said RailAmerica Chief Commercial Officer Charles Patterson. “Both the utility plant on the MNA and operations on the NECR are now up and running.”

Meanwhile, a new short line in Oregon has just begun to move traffic. On Wednesday, the 133-mile Coos Bay Rail Link (CBR) operated its first revenue train from a connection with Union Pacific Railroad at Eugene to Cordes, Ore. Early next year, CBR plans to extend operations 17 miles to Coos Bay and Coquille after track and bridges are renovated. CBR is owned by ARG Trans, which launched operations in November 2003 after it acquired the San Pedro & Southwestern Railroad Co. from RailAmerica.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/14/2011