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CSX, Norfolk Southern report coal loadings down in 2013

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The two major railroads serving West Virginia both reported drops in coal shipments for the 52-week period that ended Dec. 28, but they are showing growth in petroleum and intermodal traffic.

Norfolk Southern reported hauling 1,298,177 carloads in the period, down about 3.7 percent from 1,348,695 in 2012.

CSX reported a sharper drop. Its coal traffic as measured by carloads was down about 7.9 percent, from 1,187,587 in 2012 to 1094,252 in 2013.

CSX reported hauling 1,773,191 carloads in 2008, making a 38 percent drop in the five-year period.

However, CSX's total traffic in the 52 weeks was up 2 percent in 2013 over 2012. Much of the growth was in petroleum products, which showed a 53 percent increase, and in container traffic, which grew by 6.1 percent. And while coal shipments were down, coke shipments grew 20.2 percent.

Norfolk Southern reported 54 percent growth in petroleum product shipments and 6.7 percent growth in container shipments, but coke shipments were down about 12 percent. Its total car loadings were up 3.3 percent.

CSX has announced it will release its fourth-quarter and year-end financial report after markets close on Jan. 15. Its executives will have their conference call with investment analysts the next morning. Norfolk Southern has not announced its release date, although it often is a week later than CSX's.