AAR Reports Rail Traffic Continues to Register Gains

WASHINGTON — The Association of American Railroads today reported that rail traffic continues to register incremental gains on a week-to-week basis, but remains down year over year.

Rail carloadings were at their highest level since the week ended Dec. 13, 2008. For the week ended Aug. 29, 2009, U.S. railroads reported originating 285,580 cars, down 16.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008. Regionally, carloadings were down 16 percent in the West and 16.6 percent in the East.

Intermodal traffic of 202,553 trailers or containers on U.S. railroads was down 15.6 percent from the same week last year. Container volume fell 9.4 percent and trailer volume dropped 38.7 percent.

All 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from last year, with declines ranging from 8.7 percent for farm products not including grain to 42.1 percent for metals and metal products.

For the first 34 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,001,221 carloads, down 18.7 percent from 2008; 6,354,064 trailers or containers, down 17.1 percent, and total volume of an estimated 958.1 billion ton-miles, down 17.8 percent. Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending August 29 was estimated at 309.5 billion ton-miles, off 15.5 percent from the same week last year.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 65,256 cars for the week, down 17.9 percent from last year, and 43,274 trailers or containers, down 17.2 percent. For the first 34 weeks of 2009, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,038,729 carloads, down 23.4 percent from last year, and 1,371,362 trailers or containers, down 16.5 percent.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 12,286 cars, down 18.2 percent from the same week last year, and 6,446 trailers or containers, off 11 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 34 weeks of 2009 was reported as 386,939 carloads, down 14.1 percent from last year; and 169,268 trailers or containers, down 19.8 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 34 weeks of 2009 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 11,426,889 carloads, down 19.4 percent from last year, and 7,894,694 trailers and containers, down 17 percent from last year.