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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. roads' carloads tumble in December's second week, AAR says


So much for a great December. After posting a carload gain in the month’s first week, U.S. railroads registered a decline in the second.

During the week ending Dec. 15, U.S. roads originated 322,571 carloads, down 4 percent compared with traffic from the same week in 2006, according to the Association of American Railroads. In addition, intermodal volume decreased 0.6 percent year over year to 239,223 units.

“Class I traffic fell slightly sharper than recent weeks as significant winter weather negatively impacted volumes, most notably at the western and Canadian carriers,” said Bank of America Securities analyst Scott Flower in the firm’s weekly rail traffic report.

During 2007’s first 50 weeks, U.S. railroads originated 16.4 million carloads, down 2.4 percent, and 11.7 million containers and trailers, down 2 percent compared with totals from the same 2006 period. Volume totaled an estimated 1.69 trillion ton-miles, representing a 0.9 percent year-over-year decline.

Canadian railroads had a much better week. During the period ending Dec. 15, their originated carloads increased 1.9 percent to 75,870 units and intermodal volume rose 8.9 percent to 48,635 units compared with totals from the same week in 2006. Through 50 weeks, Canadian roads boosted carloads 0.5 percent year over year to 3.9 million units and increased intermodal volume 3.5 percent to 2.4 million units.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 50 weeks, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 20.2 million carloads, down 1.9 percent, and 14 million containers and trailers, down 1.1 percent compared with totals from the same 2006 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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