Weekly US Coal Train Loadings Fall to Over Six-Year Low
By Tyler Godwin
May 4, 2020 - US coal train loadings fell for the fourth straight week to a more than six-year low in the week that ended April 24, despite loadings out of the Illinois Basin and Powder River Basin rising week on week, Surface Transportation Board data showed Friday.
Data filed to the STB by the four major US Class I railroads — CSX, Union Pacific, BNSF and Norfolk Southern — show US loadings averaged 57.5 trains/day, down 0.5% from 57.8 trains/day in the prior week and 42.2% lower than the 99.6 trains/day averaged in the year-ago week.
Since January 1, total loadings have averaged 72.8 trains/day, down from a 92 trains/day average in the same period a year ago.
Of the four major basins, the Illinois Basin and Powder River Basin were the only ones to see a week-on-week increase.
Average PRB loadings ticked higher to 30.3 trains/day in the latest week, up from a 12-month low of 29.7 trains/day in the prior week, but down from 52.1 trains/day in the year-ago week.
PRB loadings this year are averaging 40.7 trains/day, down from 48.3 trains/day in the same period a year ago.
Illinois Basin loadings reached a 12-week high of 5 trains/day, up from 4.3 trains/day a week earlier but lower than the 7.4 trains/day average in the year ago-week. Since January 1, Illinois Basin loadings have averaged 4.1 trains/day, down from 7.2 trains/day a year ago.
Central Appalachia loadings were at a 17-week low of 9.8 trains trains/day, down from 10.3 trains/day a week earlier and 18.8 trains/day in the year-ago week.
Loadings from the CAPP region in 2020 have averaged 12.8 trains/day, down from 16.4 trains/day in the year-ago period.
Loadings in Northern Appalachia fell to a nine-month low of 6.3 trains/day, from 6.9 trains/day a week ago and 13.1 trains/day in the year-ago week.
Cumulative loadings in Northern Appalachia have averaged 9.1 trains/day in 2020, down from 12.3 trains/day in the year-ago period.
Loadings from outside of the primary basins fell to 6.1 trains/day, down from a 12-week high of 6.6 trains/day a week earlier and 8.2 trains/day in the year-ago week.