The company said in its most recent performance report for September that it loaded 894 coal trains in the Southern Powder River Basin, an 18% drop from the 1093 trains it reported in September 2011.
Officials calculated an average of 29.8 trains loaded daily last month in the region.
Just two months ago, the rail shipper reported its best monthly SPRB volume since the start of 2012. Its July total of 952 was a 16% jump from 820 loaded in July of last year.
The news got better in August, when the company had a new year-to-date high of 974 trains. However, that total was the beginning of the year-on-year downward trend as that total trailed the 1130 trains it reported in August 2011.
Shipments from UP’s other main service area, the Colorado-Utah region, were also down in September to 229 versus 251 in September 2011.
In August, Colorado-Utah region loadings were 257, the highest monthly total of 2012. It also was up slightly over August 2011’s 253 coal trains.
UP calculated a daily loading average of 7.6 trains in the region.
The railroader did not cite any specific accidents or derailment issues that played a role in its September figures.
UP’s operation area encompasses 23 states in the western two-thirds of the US.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe and UP are the two largest shippers for the western coalfields.