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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. roads register only monthly carload gain, but all North American roads move more intermodal loads in July, AAR says


U.S. railroads have increased traffic for the second-straight month. In July, the roads moved 1.27 million carloads and 879,620 intermoal loads, a 0.1 percent and 5.1 percent increase, respectively, compared with July 2004, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

“Coal originations showed a year-over-year gain in July despite the additional weather-related track maintenance that has slowed traffic on the primary rail line out of the Powder River Basin in Wyoming,” said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement. “That gain, combined with continued strength in construction materials and a favorable comparison in agricultural traffic, produced an overall increase in U.S. rail traffic.”

During 2005’s first five months, U.S. roads moved 9.9 million carloads, up 1.5 percent, and 6.5 million intermodal loads, up 6.0 percent compared with the same 2004 period. Total estimated volume of 950.8 billion ton-miles rose 2.3 percent.

Canadian railroads continued to move fewer carloads on a year-over-year basis last month. The roads’ 284,672 carloads dropped 3.5 percent compared with July 2004. However, monthly intermodal loads rose 1.4 percent to 169,959 units.

During the year’s first five months, Canadian roads moved 2.3 million carloads, down 0.5 percent, and 1.3 million intermodal loads, up 2.3 percent compared with the same 2004 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 30 weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 12.2 million carloads, up 1.1 percent, and 7.8 million trailers and containers, up 5.4 percent compared with 2004’s first 30 weeks.

In Mexico, TFM S.A. de C.V. also had a mixed July. Carloads totaling 31,390 units dropped 2.6 percent but intermodal loads totaling 13,739 rose 4.9 percent compared with July 2004. Through five months, TFM moved 255,933 carloads, up 0.3 percent, and 114,355 intermodal loads, up 6.9 percent compared with the same 2004 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/5/2005