AAR Week 47: Intermodal Continues to Drive Growth

Total U.S. rail traffic of 534,607 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Nov. 21, 2020, kept pace with the same week last year, rising 2.5%, based on a double-digit intermodal gain, according to a Nov. 25 report from the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Total carloads were down 7.2% to 233,478, compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was up 11.5% to 301,129 containers and trailers, compared with 2019.

For House Rail Subcommittee, an Earful on Multiple Matters

“Examining the Surface Transportation Board’s Role in Ensuring a Robust Passenger Rail System” was the topic of a virtual Nov. 18 hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

Intermodal Registers Double-Digit Gain: AAR

For the week ending Nov. 14, 2020, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 527,462 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.2% compared with the same week last year, based on a double-digit intermodal gain, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on Nov. 18. Total carloads were 232,146, down 3.1% compared with the same week in 2019, but U.S. weekly intermodal volume, at 295,316 containers and trailers, rose 12.9% compared to 2019.

AAR: Intermodal’s Upward Trend Continues

October was the “the best month ever” for U.S. rail intermodal, with volumes up by one-third from April—“a stunning increase in six months,” Association of American Railroads Senior Vice President John T. Gray said on Nov. 4. Intermodal again offset carload declines, as U.S. rail traffic for the month—2,082,646 carloads and intermodal units—rose 2.0%, compared with the same month last year. Also positive: Carloads rose for 10 of the 20 categories AAR tracks, “the most since the pandemic began,” Gray noted.


Component Tracking: Greater Visibility

RAILWAY AGE, NOVEMBER 2020 ISSUE: Identifying railcar components and tracking their health is critical to the safe and efficient operation of North America’s freight railroads. In an industry with about 1.6 million revenue-earning cars, annual equipment maintenance spending might approach $2 billion. The benefits of more efficient component tracking and equipment-health analysis are potentially significant.

Senate Commerce Gets An Earful of Rail

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on Oct. 21 convened a hearing on the state of the U.S. passenger and freight rail network. Railroad, shipping and union representatives provided testimony, which included the impacts of COVID-19, legislative considerations for surface transportation reauthorization, and Amtrak’s ongoing struggles. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is Chair of the Committee. Following are highlights from the presenters, with downloadable PDFs of their full written testimony.

AAR: Intermodal Gain Tamps Down Carload Loss, Again

U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 17, 2020, largely mirrored the previous week’s figures, with a significant intermodal gain surpassing a carload decline, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on Oct. 21. Year-to-date figures largely confirm that intermodal has held up relatively well in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, compared to carload volume.