Small Railroad Traffic Falls From June

Small Railroad Traffic Falls From June

Short line railroads across North America showed just a mild uptick in traffic after the holiday-shortened July 4 week, leaving traffic weaker than during June for the seven days ending July 11.

The RMI RailConnect index, based on reports from 339 short lines out of more than 500 in all, showed the lines carrying 86,287 carloads and intermodal units in the week, up about 1,000 from the holiday week but down from the 88,000 range or higher that prevailed in June. Overall, short line traffic was down 26.8 percent from the same week in 2008, RMI said.

Small carriers had another week of strong grain loadings compared with recent months, in line with the harvests now under way of winter wheat in the Great Plains.

Chemical hauls by small railroads were also firm, a sign of demand percolating with industrial customers. However, both grain and chemical hauls were below their recent highs.

No categories suffered major declines from recent weeks, suggesting that traffic is moving in a narrow, low range with little sign that it is changing direction so far.

Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.