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Rail Traffic Tops 2009 During Most Recent Week

February 12, 2010
Freight traffic on U.S. railroads registered small gains in comparison with 2009 levels during the week ended February 6, but continued to trail levels reported in 2008, the Association of American Railroads reported.

For the week ending Feb. 6, 2010, U.S. railroads originated 268,033 carloads, up 1.4 percent compared with the same week in 2009, but down 14.7 percent from 2008. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR now reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008.

Intermodal traffic totaled 201,188 trailers and containers, up 5.1 percent from a year ago, but down 10.7 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 8.3 percent and trailer volume fell 10.1 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume decreased 3.5 percent and trailer volume dropped 36.8 percent.

In the Western U.S., carloads were up 2.0 percent compared with the same week last year, but down 10.4 percent compared with 2008. In the Eastern U.S., carloads were up 0.2 percent compared with 2009, and down 20.7 percent compared with the same week in 2008.

Fourteen of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were up in comparison with the same week last year, led by a 50.8 percent jump in loadings of metals and products. Substantial increases were also reported in loadings of nonmetallic minerals, 40.1 percent; farm products other than grain, 32 percent; coke, 25.7 percent; and motor vehicles and equipment, 19.9 percent. On the negative side, crushed stone, sand and gravel fell 12.7 percent and pulp, paper, and allied products dipped 10.3 percent.

Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Feb. 6, 2010 was estimated at 29.2 billion ton-miles, up 2.5 percent from the same week last year and down 11.8 percent from 2008.

For the first 5 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,324,717 carloads, down 0.3 percent from 2009 and 17.1 percent from 2008; 1,004,463 trailers or containers, up 3.0 percent from 2009, but down 11.1 percent from 2008, and total volume of an estimated 143.9 billion ton-miles, up 0.5 percent from 2009 but down 14.3 percent from 2008.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 69,559 cars for the week, up 9.3 percent from last year, and 43,688 trailers or containers, up 2.4 percent from 2009. For the first 5 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 352,663 carloads, up 14.8 percent from last year, and 218,224 trailers or containers, up 3.4 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 11,089 cars, up 11.4 percent from the same week last year, and 5,152 trailers or containers, up 19.5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 5 weeks of 2010 was reported as 64,792 carloads, up 23 percent from last year; and 31,277 trailers or containers, up 40.2 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 5 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 1,742,172 carloads, up 3.2 percent from last year, and 1,253,964 trailers and containers, up 3.8 percent from last year.