Association of American Railroads

(Norfolk Southern Photograph)

Intermodal Continues Downward Trend

Intermodal slowed in September as consumer consumption continued to switch from goods to services, according to John T. Gray, Senior Vice President of the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The group’s monthly rail traffic report, issued Oct. 5, showed not only an intermodal volume decline of 4.8% from the prior-year period, but also a carload decrease of 1.1%.

Week 38: U.S. Rail Traffic Behind 2021 Levels

U.S. freight rail traffic dipped in Week 38, compared with the prior-year period, as carloads were down 3.2% and intermodal volume fell 5.4%, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported for the week ending Sept. 24, 2022.

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.”

No Work Stoppage for Now

It took an all-night bargaining session in the Washington, D.C., offices of Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, but as dawn approached Thursday, Sept. 15, three rail unions, representing almost 60% of unionized rail workers and which had been holding out for a better deal than was reached by nine others, came to terms with the National Carriers Conference Committee (NCCC) that represents most of the nation’s Class I railroads and many smaller ones.

(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.