Short Lines and Intermodal Continue Rail Growth Trends

According to RMI, excluding bulk commodities and intermodal traffic, short line carload growth was 11.9% for the first quarter, while the Class I carriers showed carload growth of 2.3%. Carload traffic accounted for 63% of all short line growth, with intermodal moves at 31%.

AAR reports that for the first four months of the year, with 15 U.S. and Canadian railroads reporting, combined cumulative rail volumes were up 2.2%, year over year, with trailers and containers up 6.7% over the same period in 2004.

Intermodal transportation has been suggested as a means of picking up needed capacity those challenged to move truckload-sized shipments. AAR reports that U.S. intermodal traffic was up 7.3% for the first four months of the year, while Canadian intermodal traffic grew 4.0% during the same period.

For Mexico’s Transportacion Ferroviaria Mexicana (TFM), through April 2005, carload traffic was up 3.5% while intermodal traffic climbed 9.8%.

For U.S. short lines, five commodities all showed double digit growth in the first quarter of 2005: stone, clay and aggregates; petroleum and coke; waste and scrap materials; metals and metal products; and intermodal.

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