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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic climbed in Week 3


U.S. rail traffic continued to trend in railroads' favor during the week ending Jan. 19, with a 6.9 percent increase in carloads and intermodal units compared with year-ago volume, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Railroads' carload traffic increased 7.4 percent to 258,833 units, while intermodal volume climbed 6.5 percent to 284,278 containers and trailers compared with volumes during the same week in 2018.

Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR follows on a weekly basis posted increases, including coal, up 5,554 carloads to 87,906; nonmetallic minerals, up 3,614 carloads to 29,994; and petroleum and petroleum products, up 3,151 carloads to 13,710.

The two groups that logged year-over-year decreases were grain, down 415 carloads to 22,913, and farm products (excluding grain) and food, down 370 carloads to 15,357.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 84,670 carloads for the week, up 10.6 percent, and 71,008 intermodal units, up 8.8 percent compared with the same week in 2018. Mexican railroads reported 18,381 carloads for the week, down 10.7 percent, and 17,595 intermodal units, down 5.9 percent.

For the first three weeks of 2019 compared with the same period a year ago:
• U.S. railroads logged 534,341 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.9 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 443,416 carloads, containers and trailers, up 11.1 percent;
• Mexican railroads posted 102,901 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 5.3 percent; and
• North American rail volume totaled 2,080,658 carloads and intermodal units, up 7 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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