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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Genesee & Wyoming increases North American, Australian carloads in February

Last month, Genesee & Wyoming Inc.’s (GWI) North American carloads totaled 64,327 units, a 20.7 percent increase compared with February 2005.

Excluding carloads moved by railroads GWI began operating between April and June 2005, the short-line holding company’s North American carloads fell 1 percent in February primarily because of a drop in U.S. lumber and forest products traffic and lingering effects of Hurricane Stan on Mexican operations.

During 2006’s first two months, GWI’s North American carloads totaled 136,594 units, a 28.8 percent increase compared with the same 2005 period. On a “same railroad” basis, the company’s carloads rose 4.5 percent because of increased coal, coke and ores, and metals traffic.

In Australia, the Australian Railroad Group (ARG) — which is half owned by GWI — boosted February carloads 5.9 percent to 76,893 units compared with February 2005. The railroad registered increases in gypsum and bauxite carloads, which helped offset soft grain traffic.

During 2006’s first two months, ARG boosted carloads 1 percent to 157,209 units compared with the same 2005 period.

Last month, GWI and joint venture partner Wesfarmers Ltd. reached an agreement to sell ARG’s western Australian operations and assets to Queensland Rail and Babcock & Brown Ltd. for $956 million. GWI also will purchase Wesfarmers’ half interest in ARG’s remaining southern Australia and Northern Territory operations and rename the railroad Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty. Ltd. The transactions are expected to close in the second quarter.

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More News from 3/13/2006