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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Trends: Rail traffic remained at high ebb last week; rail-car orders reached high level last quarter

For the week ending Oct. 18, U.S. railroads logged 297,130 carloads, up 2.7 percent, and 272,554 intermodal units, up 3 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total combined U.S. traffic rose 2.9 percent to 569,684 units and five of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products at 17.4 percent, and nonmetallic minerals at 12.5 percent. Chemicals volume declined 4.6 percent.

Through 2014’s first 42 weeks, U.S. railroads registered 12,218,003 carloads, up 3.6 percent, and 10,900,493 intermodal units, up 5.4 percent year over year.

For the week ending Oct. 18, Canadian railroads reported 85,771 carloads, up 4.6 percent, and 55,587 intermodal units, down 4 percent. Their cumulative volume through 42 weeks stood at 3,365,718 carloads, up 1.5 percent, and 2,406,134 intermodal units, up 6.5 percent year over year.

Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads climbed 14.2 percent to 16,939 and their intermodal volume inched up 0.4 percent to 12,174 units. Through 42 weeks, their carloads increased 3.3 percent to 663,760 and their intermodal volume rose 4.9 percent to 447,587 units.

Combined North American rail volume through 42 weeks shows 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 16,247,481 carloads, up 3.1 percent, and 13,754,214 containers and trailers, up 5.6 percent compared with the same 2013 period.

Meanwhile, data released by the American Railway Car Institute Committee (ARCI) of the Railway Supply Institute shows rail-car orders in the third quarter totaled 42,900 units compared with 12,753 units in third-quarter 2013. Orders previously totaled 33,912 units in the second quarter, 24,050 units in the first quarter and 14,865 in fourth-quarter 2013.

Third-quarter car deliveries totaled 18,432 compared with 16,056 in the second quarter, 13,954 in the first quarter, 15,776 in fourth-quarter 2013 and 12,647 in third-quarter 2013.

The car backlog stood at 124,437 units on Oct. 1, according to ARCI. The backlog previously totaled 99,782 units on July 1, 81,927 units on April 1 and 72,937 units on Dec. 31, 2013.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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