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US coal rail traffic, production show improvement in latest week

Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week that ended Dec. 23 climbed 6.4% year over year at 89,997 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

Year-to-date coal rail traffic rose 8.2% through the week, while overall rail traffic went up 11% year over year to 551,566 carloads and intermodal units.

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BNSF Railway Co. reached 37,096 carloads in the week that ended Dec. 23, remaining flat compared to the prior week's 37,010 carloads and falling 1.7% from the year-ago period's 37,742 carloads.

Union Pacific Corp.'s coal shipment volumes stood at 22,693 carloads, down 4.9% compared to the previous week's 23,857 carloads and up 2.2% from the year-ago period's 22,194 carloads.

Eastern railroad CSX Transportation Inc.'s coal shipment volumes clocked in at 17,803 carloads, up 4.9% from the previous week's 16,978 carloads and 7.5% from 16,562 carloads in the year-ago week.

Norfolk Southern Corp.'s coal shipment volumes totaled 19,340 carloads, up 7.3% from the previous week's 18,020 carloads and 30.3% from the prior year's 14,837 carloads.

Kansas City Southern Railway Co.'s latest weekly coal shipment volume showed 3,358 carloads, holding steady from the previous week's 3,345 carloads. The railroad serves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

Coal production shows steady improvement

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. coal production, at 15.5 million tons, climbed 3.2% year over year.

For the 12 months that ended Dec. 23, production stood at roughly 786.8 million tons, increasing 8.9% year over year, while year-to-date coal output improved 6.4% year over year to 760.4 million tons.

The Western region's coal production climbed 3%, to 8.9 million tons a year ago from 8.7 million tons.

Coal production from Appalachian mines climbed 6.5% year over year to 3.8 million tons, from 3.6 million tons a year ago.

The Interior region's production was at 2.8 million tons, remaining relatively steady year over year. Interior region data covers mines in the Illinois Basin.

The EIA's production data is derived from rail carload estimates.

Data collected by S&P Global Market Intelligence from railroads indicates both cars originated on their lines during the week and cars received from a connecting railroad during the same week.