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Houston — Coal shipment volumes originated on US railroads were slightly up from the previous week but still subdued, Association of American Railroads data showed Wednesday.

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For the week ended November 14, the AAR reported a total of 95,293 coal carloads traveled US railways, a slight 0.3% increase in volumes from the week before.

Coal carload volumes have dipped below the 100,000 mark in five of the last six weeks and in 20 of 45 weeks this year. Coal volumes were above 100,000 carloads in every week of 2014.

Coal originations this year averaged 100,913 carloads a week, down 10,931 carloads from 2014.

Year to date, US coal originations on the railroads are down 9.8% from 2014, falling to 4,541,099 carloads.

Overall US rail traffic for the week totaled 543,681 cars, and coal made up 17.5% of all traffic.

Canadian railroads -- which include the US operations of Canadian National, which serves several mines in the Illinois Basin, and Canadian Pacific -- originated 7,561 coal carloads, down 5.7% from the prior week and 23.8% from the same week last year.

Year to date, coal volumes on Canadian railroads have fallen 12.6% to 358,447 total carloads.


Coal carload volumes, which include originations and interchange movements, were slightly up from the previous week in the East for CSX and Norfolk Southern but down in the West for BNSF and Union Pacific.

CSX reported 16,049 coal carloads, up 8.3% from the previous week. It was a 31.6% decrease in volumes from the year-ago week, and coal made up 12.2% of all traffic.

Coal shipments for CSX are down 34.4% in the fourth quarter and are down 16.1% year to date.

NS reported 19,419 coal carloads, up 3.7% from the previous week. It was a 14.5% decrease in volumes from the year-ago week, and coal made up 13.7% of all traffic.

NS coal shipments are down 10% in the fourth quarter and are down 15.6% year to date.

UP reported 26,870 coal carloads, down 1% from the previous week. It was a 17% decrease over the year-ago week, and coal made up 15.5% of all traffic.

UP coal shipments are down 19% in the fourth quarter and are down 16.5% year to date, the most of all major railroads.

BNSF reported 43,164 coal carloads, down 2.6% from the previous week and down 0.1% from the year-ago week. Coal made up 21.4% of all traffic.

Year to date, coal shipments are up 3.1%, or 60,906 carloads, for BNSF, the only major US railroad with an overall increase in coal shipments in 2015. Fourth-quarter volumes are up 0.2% from 2014.

--Jim Levesque,
--Edited by Annie Siebert,