Thursday, April 10, 2014

AAR responds to service questions raised at STB hearing

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Following an April 10, 2014 Surface Transportation Board hearing on railroad service issues, the Association of American Railroads issued a statement in response to questions that have been raised.

“There have been recent rail service challenges in certain parts of the country and railroads are working around the clock to mitigate them. Those challenges result from a confluence of events that were concentrated in particular regions. These events include a winter that was far worse than usual and forced railroads to dramatically shorten train lengths and crew exposure to the elements; a record grain harvest and unexpected surge in grain exports; and higher coal volumes as utilities sought to replenish stockpiles they consumed when they generated additional electricity to keep all of America warm this winter.

“Despite regional service issues, railroads continue to move vast volumes of goods safely and efficiently. In March 2014, U.S. railroads originated nearly 39,000 more carloads and nearly 93,000 more containers and trailers than in March 2013. They transported higher average weekly intermodal volume than any March in history and the fourth highest of any month in history. Average weekly U.S. rail carloads of coal in March were the highest in six months; carloads of chemicals (the category that includes ethanol) were the highest in 23 months; motor vehicles were the highest in 12 months; lumber was the highest in 67 months; and nonmetallic minerals were the highest in six months.

“It remains the railroads’ goal to provide service at the high levels their customers expect.”