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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Volumes down for all reporting North American railroads in 2009's first week, AAR says


Unfortunately for U.S. railroads, they started 2009 the same way they ended 2008 — mired in a traffic slump. During the first full week ending Jan. 10, their carloads totaled 271,471 units, down 17.7 percent, and intermodal loads totaled 204,103 units, down 14.3 percent compared with totals from 2008’s first full week, according to Association of American Railroads data.

Total volume stood at an estimated at 28.8 billion ton-miles, representing a 16.3 percent year-over-year decline.

The outcome wasn’t better — and for the most part was worse — for Canadian railroads. For the first full week, they reported 55,903 carload and 42,986 intermodal loads, down 26.8 percent and 13.7 percent, respectively, compared with totals from 2008’s first full week.

Mexico’s two largest railroads got off to a bad start, too. For the first full week, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V. and Ferrocarril Mexicano S.A. de C.V. reported 8,972 carloads, down 20.3 percent, and 3,943 containers and trailers, down 24.3 percent compared with totals from 2008’s first full week.

On a combined North American-volume basis through the first week, 14 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 336,346 carloads, down 19.5 percent, and 251,032 containers and trailers, down 14.4 percent year over year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/19/2009