Weekly U.S. rail traffic sluggish as year begins

Table showing weekly U.S. rail traffic by commodity, plus total intermodal moves

(Association of American Railroads)

WASHINGTON — U.S. rail traffic continued its slow start to the year, according to statistics from the Association of American Railroads.

Overall rail volume for the week ending Jan. 15 was 493,617 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.6% compared to the corresponding week in 2021. That includes 259,970 intermodal units, a drop of 12.2%, and 233,647 carloads, a modest 0.5% increase.

Still, that represents a significant improvement over the first-week numbers, when total traffic was down 16%, intermodal was down 20.4%, and carloads were down 10.6%. Totals for the first two weeks show overall traffic down 11.3%, intermodal units down 16.2%,and carloads down 5.1, compared to the first two weeks of 2021.

Coal represented the week’s lone significant increase in traffic, with 67,857 carloads, the most of any commodity and a 17.9% increase over the same week in 2021.

North American totals for the week, for 12 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads, include 323,685 carloads, a 5.3% decrease, and 339,662 intermodal units, a 12.1% decline. The overall total of 663,347 carloads and intermodals represents a drop of 8.9%. The two-week total for North American traffic is down 13.1% from 2021.