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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Total U.S. freight-rail volume climbs in Week 49


U.S. freight railroads logged 542,203 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Dec. 5, a 4.8% increase compared with the same week in 2019, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

The railroads hauled 244,986 carloads during the week, down 1.4%, and 297,217 containers and trailers, up 10.5% versus a year ago.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks weekly posted an increase during the week. They included grain, up 4,757 carloads to 27,950; chemicals, up 4,043 carloads to 36,294; and farm products excluding grain, and food, up 1,365 carloads to 17,494.

Commodity groups that logged carload decreases included coal, down 7,535 units to 65,192; nonmetallic minerals, down 3,304 units to 28,714; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 1,871 units to 11,710.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads posted 83,831 carloads for the week, down 2.5%, and 75,310 intermodal units, up 12.2% compared with the same week in 2019. Mexican railroads reported 19,910 carloads, down 1.3%, and 14,571 intermodal units, down 21.1%.

Individual Class Is handled the following carloads for the week compared with the same week in 2019: BNSF Railway Co., 93,495 carloads, down from 97,104; Canadian Pacific, 35,371, up from 35,325; CN, 62,974, down from 63,795; CSX, 68,795, down from 69,385; Kansas City Southern, 15,121, up from 14,633; Norfolk Southern Railway, 56,510, down from 63,070; and Union Pacific Railroad, 88,142, up from 87,050.

For the first 49 weeks of 2020 versus the same period a year ago:
• U.S. railroads logged 23,263,901 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.1%;
• Canadian railroads reported 7,058,218 carloads, containers and trailers, down 4.7%; and
• Mexican railroads posted 1,700,717 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.8%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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