Canadian rail traffic declines

July 26, 2013 at 6:49 AM

WASHINGTON, July 26 (UPI) -- Rail traffic for Canadian railroads was down for the week by 3.2 percent compared to the same time last year, an industry trade group said.

The Association of American Railroads published its weekly rail traffic for the week that ended July 20. It reported Canadian rail traffic of 74,216 carloads for the week, 3.2 percent fewer than the same time last year.

The assessment comes two weeks after a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota derailed and exploded in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killing more than 40 people.

Police searched the Quebec headquarters of rail operator Montreal, Maine & Atlantic in a criminal negligence investigation stemming from the accident, the Toronto Star reported Thursday. Air brakes may have been misapplied before the derailment.

The derailment fueled a debate over the safety of crude oil shipments by rail. U.S. oil production gains have strained existing pipeline capacity, leaving many oil companies to deliver refinery products by train.

AAR said petroleum and petroleum product shipments by rail in the United States were up 28 percent for the week that ended July 20. Total rail traffic in the United States for the week was down 3 percent year-on-year.

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