American Railroads

News each weekday of American railroads. Our focus is on freight rail, but Amtrak and commuter rail are also essential ingredients. Nothing published on holidays.

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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Another good week for freight rail

Intermodal traffic on U.S. railroads was at its second total ever during the week ended September 23, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported today.

Intermodal volume of 256,193 trailer or containers during the week ended September 23 was up 6.3 percent from the comparable week last year. Container volume rose 10.3 percent for the week while trailer volume declined by 5.7 percent.

Carload freight totaled 338,141 cars, up 1.0 percent from last year, with loadings up 4.1 percent in the West but off 2.7 percent in the East.

Total volume was estimated at 34.0 billion ton-miles, up 2.4 percent from 2005.

Among individual carload commodities, grain loadings rose 8.6 percent from last year, while coke was up 27.7 percent and petroleum products gained 20.7 percent. On the downside, primary forest products were down 19.5 percent, lumber was off 18.5 percent and motor vehicles and equipment fell 15.3 percent. In all 13 of 19 commodity groups were up from last year.

Cumulative volume for the first 38 weeks of 2006 totaled 12,790,904 carloads, up 1.3 percent from 2005; 8,944,964 trailers or containers, up 6.3 percent; and total volume of an estimated 1.27 trillion ton-miles, up 2.6 percent from last year.

On Canadian railroads, during the week ended September 23 carload traffic totaled 76,329 cars, down 2.6 percent from last year while intermodal volume of 48,663 trailers or containers was up 5.8 percent from last year.

Cumulative originations for the first 38 weeks of 2006 on the Canadian railroads totaled 2,831,035 carloads, down 1.1 percent from last year, and 1,713,129 trailers and containers, up 5.8 percent from last year.

Combined cumulative volume for the first 38 weeks of 2006 on 13 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads totaled 15,621,939 carloads, up 0.9 percent from last year and 10,658,093 trailers and containers, up 6.3 percent from last year.

The AAR also said that during the week ended September 23 Mexican railroad Kansas City Southern de Mexico (KCSM) reported total carload volume of 11,024 cars, down 9.2 percent from last year. KCSM reported total intermodal volume of 4,770 trailers or containers, up 14.9 percent from the 38th week of 2005.

For the first 38 weeks of 2006, KCSM reported total cumulative volume of 429,737 cars, down 4.3 percent from last year, and 150,845 trailers or containers, down 3.7 percent.

Railroads reporting to AAR account for 87 percent of U.S. carload freight and 96 percent of rail intermodal volume. When the U.S. operations of Canadian railroads are included, the figures increase to 96 percent and 100 percent. The Canadian railroads reporting to the AAR account for 91 percent of Canadian rail traffic. Railroads provide more than 40 percent of U.S. intercity freight transportation, more than any other mode, and rail traffic figures are regarded as an important economic indicator.

The AAR is online at


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