Aerial view of the derailment scene.​​ (Photograph courtesy of Pike County Office of Emergency Management with overlay annotations by NTSB.)

NTSB: Loose Debris from Mudslide Probable Cause of CSX Derailment

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently determined that the probable cause of a February 13, 2020, derailment of CSX Transportation (CSX) train K42911 on a railroad track that runs between a hillside and the Russel Fork River in Draffin, Ky., was loose mud, vegetation, sand, soil and rock from a mudslide that obstructed the track following excessive rain accumulation over several weeks.

(Photograph Courtesy of Norfolk Southern)

AAR: Carloads Up, Intermodal Down for Week 37

While U.S. carloads rose for Week 37 (ending Sept. 17, 2022), intermodal volume fell, bringing total traffic down compared with the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on Sept. 21. Traffic was also down cumulatively for the year’s first 37 weeks.

STB Sets 4Q22 Rail Cost Adjustment Factor

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has adopted for fourth-quarter 2022 the rail cost adjustment factor (RCAF), defined as “an index formulated to represent changes in railroad costs incurred by the nation’s largest railroads over a specified period of time.”

(Photograph Courtesy of NS)

North American Rail Volume Down Through 36 Weeks, AAR

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) now has 36 weeks of traffic data for 2022 (ending Sept. 10). Total North American carload and intermodal traffic dipped 2.4% from the same point last year—with decreases in the U.S. and Canada, and an increase in Mexico.

Railroads Prepping for Strike Action: AAR (UPDATED)

The six Class I freight railroads participating in national bargaining will begin taking steps as early as Sept. 12 to manage and secure shipments of hazardous and security-sensitive materials “in light of the possibility of a rail labor strike,” the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said the evening of Sept. 9. The SMART-Transportation Division (TD) and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen spoke out on embargoes* on Sept. 11.

FRA Eyes RRP Rule Update

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on Sept. 8 issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to solicit comments on whether it should retain or remove a provision of the Risk Reduction Program (RRP) final rule, which took effect in 2020.

Rail Traffic Registers Small Weekly, Monthly Gains

In reporting U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 3, 2022, as well as volumes for August 2022, Association of American Railroads Senior Vice President John T. Gray said, “Things can change quickly, but there are reasons to believe the economy is on track to stimulate continued improvements in rail volumes.”

U.S. Rail Traffic Uptick Continues

For the week ending Aug. 27, 2022, total U.S. rail traffic came in at 511,574 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.4% from the prior-year period, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported Aug. 31. It is the second consecutive week that carload gains have offset intermodal declines.

(Photograph Courtesy of Norfolk Southern)

Rail Traffic Uptick for Week 33

For the week ending Aug. 20, 2022, U.S. rail traffic was up 0.1% over the same week last year; total carloads came in 2.9% higher while intermodal volume continued its downward trend, dipping 2.4%, according to the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) Aug. 24 report.