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Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded the North American railroad industry from positive to stable condition as revenue growth is tempered by reduced freight and a drop in coal shipments.

Over the next year to year and a half, coal shipments are expected to drop by 5 percent to 7.5 percent, according to the ratings firm's outlook released Monday.

Weakness in U.S. coal extends to its overseas prospects as the export of coal used in the power sector is facing headwinds of declining seaborne prices, the Moody’s report states.

Wyoming had approximately 2,500 people employed directly by the railroads in 2016, according to state counts. Those jobs exist in two bands, an east to west tract that crosses the southern part of the state and the majority along the north to south lines that serve coal country. 

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Follow energy reporter Heather Richards on Twitter @hroxaner

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Energy Reporter

Heather Richards writes about energy and the environment. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, she moved to Wyoming in 2015 to cover natural resources and government in Buffalo. Heather joined the Star Tribune later that year.

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