Rail traffic is finishing 2012 in a big way. This week’s rail traffic data marks the second consecutive week of big gains with a 10.2% reading in year over year intermodal gains. This was an improvement over last week’s 8% gains and a big improvement over the 12 week moving average of 2.55%. There’s some seasonal discrepancy in the data, but the longer view is still consistent with an economy that is growing at least marginally.
Here’s more via the AAR:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported gains for weekly rail traffic for the week ending December 22, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 290,223 carloads, up .9 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 240,119 trailers and containers, up 10.2 percent compared with the same week last year.
Fifteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 71.5 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 29.5; and lumber and wood products, up 27.3 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included metallic ores, down 26.3 percent; and coal, down 11.1 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 2.1 percent compared with the same week in 2011.
For the first 51 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 14,470,898 carloads, down 3 percent from the same point last year, and 12,111,536 trailers and containers, up 3.4 percent from last year.”
(Chart via Orcam Investment Research)