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U.S. rail traffic remains ahead of 2020 weekly figures, but gap is narrowing

By | June 10, 2021

Total year-to-date volume running 13.5% ahead of 2020

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Weekly table showing U.S. rail traffic statistics
Weekly table showing U.S. rail traffic statistics
(Association of American Railroads)

WASHINGTON — U.S. rail traffic for the week ending June 5 remains well ahead of figures for the same week in 2020, although the gap is narrowing compared to the pandemic-related decline in business earlier in 2020.

The latest Association of American Railroads statistics show U.S. railroads moved 227,497 carloads for the week, up 18.1%; 261,647 containers and trailers, up 8.7%, and 489,144 total carloads and intermodal units, up 12.9%. As recently as mid-April, total traffic was up 24.5% over the corresponding year in 2020, with intermodal traffic up 31.2% [see “Weekly rail traffic figures continue to underscore effects of pandemic,” Trains News Wire, April 15, 2021].

Year-to-date figures, through 22 weeks of 2021, show total U.S. rail volume up 13.5%, with carloads up 7.8% and intermodal units up 18.7%.

North American totals, for 12 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads, show 324,161 carloads, an increase of 15.4% over the corresponding week in 2020, with 350,015 intermodal units, an increase of 9.4% and, 674,176 total carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 12.2%. In Canada, carload traffic was up 13.6% and intermodal units were up 16.8% for a total increase of 15.1%.

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