What is happening: Analysts expect coal production to fall this year, as the largest coal-producing US region is struggling.
Coal: The Powder River Basin is the major coal supply line for US freight rail. Many mining companies in this region are having to cut staff, reduce exposure, or even leave the area.
Numbers: Although coal is still the biggest carload commodity for railroads, volumes were down 0.7% in the first 11 months of 2018. They are down a quarter since 2014, and a third between 2008 and 2017.
Challenges: The region has been hit hard with utilities turning towards natural gas. The mines are also finding it difficult to reach seaports in order to export their goods efficiently.