No longer content with the “static quo,” Amtrak seeks to establish European-style HSR in the U.S. Northeast—and operate other planned U.S. HSR systems.
Sophisticated data collection methods, along with high-tech systems to read and interpret the data, help railroads maximize their assets.
U.S. freight carload traffic continued to record gains during the week ending Nov. 20, 2010, the Association of American Railroads reported Wednesday, up 3.9% compared with the same week in 2009. U.S. intermodal trafficrose a more robust 10.6%, continuing the show of strength intermodal has displayed throughout 2010.
AAR said 14 of the 19 carload commodity groups it measures increased from the comparable week in 2009. Commodities posting double-digit gains in loadings included: metallic ores, up 76.7%; metals, up 22.3%; crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 21.1%; and farm products other than grain, up 14.5%.
Among commodities reporting declines, nonmetallic minerals was hit hardest, down 26.1%. But AAR noted that for the first 46 weeks of 2010, all 19 commodity groups are cumulatively ahead of where they were at this point year ago.
Canadian freight carload traffic advanced 5.0% for the week ending Nov. 20, while intermodal rose 12.8% from levels of one year ago. Mexico’s two major railroads reported freight carload traffic rose 6.3% from the same week last year, while intermodal rose a relatively modest 1.8%.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 46 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 9.4% from 2009, while intermodal rose 14.8% over last year’s levels.
In a speech Wednesday at a plenary session of the 5th Russian-Chinese Economic Forum in Moscow, Russian Railways (RZD) President Vladimir Yakunin noted, “Over the coming decade, the volume of direct rail freight with Chinacould increase by 50%-to-100%.”
Yakunin said that freight rail transport accounts for a substantial share of external trade freight between the two countries. During the first 10 months of 2010, the volume of rail freight between the countries increased by 33%.
The vast majority (93.9%) of cargo comprises Russian oil, timber, chemical, and mineral fertilizer exports, but in 2010, with the greater volume of Chinese machine and technical goods deliveries, imports also started to gradually increase, RZD said.
“Russian Railways [is] paying close attention to improving transport provision and developing rail and terminal-logistic infrastructure on the main freight routes between Russia and China,” Yakunin said.
RZD said one potential area for expanding cooperation is container freight from northwest Chinese provinces with no direct access to the coast via Russian Far East ports, for subsequent delivery to south China, Japan, South Korea, and other countries.