January 15, 2023 - TRA Newswire -

Depending on the commodity and the size of the railroad, traffic counts were both up and down in 2023 throughout Texas and the nation.

Two of the three largest (Class 1) railroads operating in Texas reported a lower volume of freight cars moved in 2023, compared to numbers from 2022. The Association of American Railroads reported an overall 2.1 % drop in volume when rail traffic from the U.S., Mexico and Canada is factored.   

The lone Texas exception was Canadian Pacific Kansas City Southern (CPKC), which expanded its footprint during a 2023 merger and eeked out a 1/10 of 1 percent increase. 

Union Pacific had the lowest decrease in volume of U.S. carriers with a 1% dip, while BNSF Railway took last place with a 5.7% drop.

The good news was that overall volumes for U.S. carriers started trending upward in the fourth quarter of 2023. 

Smaller railroads including short lines also had peaks and valleys with commodities last year in Texas and the U.S.

Short Line operator Watco said carloads incresed 3.7% last year with chemicals, minerals and metals leading the way. Watco operates 8 short line railroads around the state of Texas. 

Genesee and Wyoming (G&W) saw a slight increase in capacity during 2023 in all categories except coal. G&W is active with 3 short lines in North Texas and 2 along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Denver-based OmniTRAX, operator of 3 Texas short lines, claimed strong growth occured on its first mile-last mile railroads. 

Photo credit: TXDOT