Railcar Tracking Data in Recent Months

Monitoring railroad tracking performance data of delays by railroad allows you to understand what is happening in the industry and anticipate how your business may be affected. To help you do this more effectively, we put together a recap of what the railcar tracking data has been showing in recent months:

Annual volume in 2018 across the carriers has been running 2% above last year. Does the data from November suggest a change in the economy?

In November carloads fell 0.2% compared to 2017, their first year-over-year decline in nine months and the lowest weekly average for the month of November since the AAR began reporting this statistic in 1988. The major declines were in frac sand, grain and grain mill products, food products, non-ferrous waste, and coal. On the positive side, carloads of petroleum products were up 29%, metallic ores 5.3%, steel and primary products 7.9%, and chemicals grew 1.5%.


At 18% of carload traffic, Chemicals and Petroleum are the second largest commodity segment behind coal. The weekly average chemical carloads in November were the most for any November in history. Volume at all of the carriers ticked up the in the first week of this month, perhaps the next couple of weeks will rebound prior to the normal drop in volume over the holidays.


CSX Reduced Yard Dwell

CSX has showed significant improvement over the last six months. Compared to the NS, the daily average number of loaded and empty cars not moving for more than 48 hours on CSX has decreased by about 6,000 cars. Dwell at the major CSX yards has traditionally been 30 – 40 hours. Many of their yards have reduced dwell to 20 – 30 hours.


In recent months CSX has been able to increase their volume over the NS by 5-10k cars per week.


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