Railroad Service Report Update – Oct ’21
Weekly service report updates for Class 1 railroads provided by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) were recently updated with values spanning through the end of Sep ’21. Total cars online remained above previous year levels but below pre-pandemic seasonal levels throughout the week ending Oct 2nd. Grain and ethanol rail transportation speeds finished below previous year levels but remained equal to or above historical average train speeds.
Total Railcars Online:
Oct 2nd week ending total railcars online totaled 985,400, finishing slightly below 17 month high levels experienced throughout the final week of August but remaining 4.8% above the record low level experienced throughout May ’20. Online railcar figures have been compiled since the fourth quarter of 2014. Oct 2nd week ending total railcars online finished 1.5% above previous year figures but remained 2.7% below pre-pandemic seasonal levels.
Total railcars online reached record low levels following the significant declines in manufacturing experienced during the early stages of COVID-19. Railcars online have only partially rebounded since, despite manufacturing finishing slightly above pre-pandemic seasonal levels for the second consecutive month throughout the month of August.
Grain Rail Transportation:
Oct 2nd week ending grain train speeds of 23.3 MPH finished 1.5% below previous year levels but remained 3.1% above historical average grain train speeds. The YOY decline in grain train speeds was the third experienced in a row. Grain train speeds had finished below previous year levels over 40 consecutive weeks through the end of Jul ’21, prior to being mixed throughout the past two months.
Ethanol Rail Transportation:
Oct 2nd week ending ethanol train speeds of 22.9 MPH finished 1.4% below previous year levels but remained equal to historical average ethanol train speeds. The YOY decline in ethanol train speeds was the second experienced in a row. Ethanol train speeds had finished below previous year levels over 34 consecutive weeks through the end of Jun ’21, prior to being mixed throughout the past three months.