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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S., Canadian railroads registered traffic gains in week No. 33

For the week ending Aug. 17, U.S. railroads originated 295,901 carloads, up 0.5 percent, and 256,458 intermodal loads, up 3.7 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total U.S. rail traffic climbed 2 percent to 552,359 units even though only four of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products at 19.6 percent. Grain traffic declined 8 percent.

Industrial products traffic, which rose 4 percent in the week ending Aug. 17, was propelled by recent strength in crushed stone/sand/gravel, metallic ores and stone/clay/glass volumes, which together account for about half of all industrial carloads, according to Robert W. Baird & Co Inc.'s weekly "Rail Flash" report. Despite challenging year-over-year comparisons, automotive traffic increased 4 percent, the report states.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 78,160, up 1.7 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 56,541 units, up 4.9 percent year over year. Mexican railroads' weekly carloads jumped 11.8 percent to 16,042 units, but their intermodal volume fell 6 percent to 11,140 units.

Through 2013's first 33 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 12,258,601 carloads, down 0.3 percent, and 10,065,774 containers and trailers, up 3.5 percent compared with the same 2012 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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