After weeks of steady gains, freight traffic at small North American railroads in the week ending Sept. 5 slipped to its lowest level in a month, said the RMI RailConnect index.
That snapshot report from 341 short lines listed volume of all types at 91,951 loads. A week earlier, traffic of 95,011 units had been the strongest since March 7, helped by a year-to-date high number of railcars filled with automobiles or other equipment.
The latest week saw mild retrenchment in most cargo categories, though the totals stayed within levels set this summer as the recovery continues to be choppy rather than a steady rise off the recession’s lows.
Several cargoes bucked the week’s downward trend. Intermodal trailers or containers rose to 6,193 units from 5,937 in the Aug. 29 week, and paper products generated 5,815 carloads from 5,453 a week earlier. Construction stone, clay and aggregate materials climbed to 11,288 loads from 10,770.
But slippage hit most of the largest short line cargoes – chemicals, grain and coal – and a number of smaller ones from autos and forest products to scrap materials and ores.
Compared with the same week last year, traffic on rail lines reporting to RailConnect was down 29.87 percent, worse than the year-to-date drop of 27.15 percent and the largest weekly drop in two months.
Contact John D. Boyd at email@example.com.