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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Short-line set's carloads way down through May, RMI index shows


Class Is have posted large traffic declines so far in 2009, but short lines are registering even bigger year-over-year decreases. Through May, each of the 14 carload segments tracked by RMI’s RailConnect Index of Short Line Traffic posted high double-digit drop-offs compared with the same 2008 period.

Based on year-to-date data (through May 30) from 344 regionals and short lines, the latest index shows total carloads for both motor vehicles/equipment and “all other” traffic down 52 percent; intermodal down 49 percent; ores and metals & products each down 47 percent; petroleum & coke down 37 percent; waste and scrap materials down 33 percent; lumber & forest products down 27 percent; paper products down 25 percent; and grain down 20 percent. The other four categories posted declines ranging from 12 percent to 18 percent.

Overall, the reporting railroads through May 30 handled 1.9 million carloads, down 27 percent year over year.

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More News from 6/9/2009