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Latest data rosy for US coal rail traffic, production

Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week that ended May 27 rose 25.3% year over year to 82,481 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

Year-to-date coal rail traffic posted an 18.9% upturn through the week, while overall rail traffic was up 6.7% year-over-year to 548,103 carloads and intermodal units.

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BNSF Railway Co. reached 34,678 carloads in the week that ended May 27, up 3.3% from last week's 33,555 carloads, and jumped 21.3% compared to 28,595 carloads during the same period a year ago.

Union Pacific Corp.'s coal shipment volumes this week stood at 20,778, up 3.8% from last week's 20,010 carloads, and shot up 40.6% from the year-ago period's 14,777.

Eastern railroad CSX Transportation Inc.'s coal shipment volumes clocked in at 14,581, a less than 1% increase from last week's 14,510 carloads, and climbed 1% compared to 14,440 of the year-ago week.

Norfolk Southern Corp.'s coal shipment volumes totaled 20,953, up 18.1% from last week's 17,744 carloads, and surged 36.1% from the prior year's 15,399.

Kansas City Southern Railway Co.'s latest weekly coal shipment volume showed 3,994, spiking 56.9% from last week's 2,545 carloads. The railroad serves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

Year-to-date coal output recovers 17.6%

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. coal production climbed 22% year over year to 15 million tons, compared with 12.3 million tons during the same period last year.

For the 52 weeks that ended May 27, production clocked in at 785.8 million tons, a trivial increase of less than 1% year over year, while year-to-date coal output recovered 17.6% year over year to roughly 314.3 million tons through May 27.

The Western region's coal production for the week reached 8 million tons and posted a 25.8% year-over-year increase from the prior year's 6.3 million tons. Data for the Western region covers Powder River Basin mines.

Coal production from Appalachian mines totaled 3.9 million tons, up 16.6% from the year-ago week's 3.3 million tons.

The interior region's production rose 19.9% to 3.2 million tons, compared with 2.6 million tons a year ago. 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.