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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Up-and-down U.S. traffic trend continued in week No. 10


For the week ending March 9, U.S. railroads reported 276,698 carloads, down 0.9 percent, and 235,174 intermodal units, up 4 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total U.S. traffic rose 1.3 percent. Only four of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains while grain volume fell 16.5 percent and coal volume dipped 1 percent.

The three publicly traded U.S. Class Is provided "incrementally negative" domestic coal outlooks at recent investor conferences, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts said in their weekly "Rail Flash" report.

"CSX is expecting 2013 coal volumes at the low end of its originally guided 5 to 10 percent range while Norfolk Southern noted it continues to see further weakness in the domestic coal market," they said. "In the West, Union Pacific is projecting first-quarter coal volumes to be down in the high-teens after original expectations for mid-teen declines."

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported week No. 10 carloads totaling 78,758, up 4.8 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 52,760 units, up 7.2 percent year over year. For the week ending March 9, Mexican railroads' weekly carloads climbed 13 percent to 15,577 units and their intermodal volume jumped 24.5 percent to 9,826 units.

Through 2013's first 10 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 3,645,271 carloads, down 2 percent, and 2,994,171 containers and trailers, up 7 percent compared with the same 2012 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/15/2013