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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. freight-rail traffic up slightly in Week 42


U.S. freight-rail traffic rose 2.2% to 518,763 carloads, containers and trailers for the week ending Oct. 17 compared with the same week in 2019, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week fell 7.5% to 226,828 units, while intermodal volume climbed 11.3% to 291,935 containers and trailers.

Four of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks weekly posted increases. They included grain, up 4,920 carloads to 25,547; miscellaneous, up 1,223 to 10,411; and motor vehicles and parts, up 884 to 15,636.

Commodity groups that logged decreases included coal, down 15,084 carloads to 59,979; nonmetallic minerals, down 4,932 carloads to 31,058; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 2,429 carloads to 10,293.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 80,201 units, up 2.3%; and 78,094 intermodal units, up 14.4%. Mexican railroads reported 19,523 carloads, down 3.8%; and 14,972 intermodal units, down 22.6%.

For the first 42 weeks of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019:

  • U.S. railroads logged 19,641,378 carloads, containers and trailers, down 9.8%;

  • Canadian railroads posted 5,949,096 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.7%; and

  • Mexican railroads reported 1,441,811 carloads, containers and trailers, down 10.8%.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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