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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Short line carloads down slightly through September, RMI data shows


Although it hasn’t exactly been a banner carload-handling year so far for regionals and short lines, it hasn’t been a bummer, either. Through 39 weeks (ending Sept. 27), 337 U.S. and Canadian small railroads handled 4.75 million carloads, down slightly (by 0.2 percent) compared with traffic from the same 2007 period, according to RMI’s weekly RailConnect® Index of Short Line Traffic.

The railroads registered significant declines in only three commodity groups: lumber and forest products (down 16.7 percent to 199,034 units), intermodal (down 15.2 percent to 490,854 units) and paper products (down 7.4 percent to 302,429 units). “All other” and stone/clay/aggregates traffic also fell by 2.2 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, compared with totals from 2007’s first 39 weeks.

The railroads reported gains in the other nine commodity groups, led by ores (up 16.1 percent to 119,903 units), metals and products (up 8.6 percent to 467,329 units), farm and food products (up 6.7 percent to 205,618 units), waste and scrap materials (up 6.5 percent to 261,889 units), and petroleum and coke (up 6.5 percent to 232,056 units).

Of the remainder, grain carloads increased 4.9 percent, coal carloads rose 2.7 percent, chemical carloads went up 2 percent and motor vehicles/equipment carloads increased 1.7 percent compared with totals from 2007’s first 39 weeks.

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More News from 10/14/2008