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The moderation in rail traffic continued this week as the AAR reported a 0.7% year over year increase in total carloads and a 4.2% increase in intermodal traffic.  This data has been mixed in recent weeks, but the overall downtrend since late 2010 has been apparent.  Breadth of the data has weakened substantially as just 7 of the 20 commodity groups are now posting year over year gains.  AAR has the details:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported steady results in weekly rail traffic with U.S. railroads originating 288,049 carloads for the week ending May 28, 2011, up 0.7 percent compared with the same week last year.  Intermodal volume for the week totaled 234,668 trailers and containers, up 4.2 percent compared with the same week in 2010.

Seven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases from the comparable week in 2010. Commodity groups posting significant increases included: metallic ores, up 48.9 percent; grain, up 18.5 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 13.7 percent. Groups posting a notable decrease included: primary forest products, down 23.1 percent; farm products excluding grain, down 19.7 percent, and nonmetallic minerals, down 15.4 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 0.7 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 0.7 percent compared with the same week in 2010.

For the first 21 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,110,554 carloads, up 3.2 percent from last year, and 4,703,701 trailers and containers, up 8.5 percent from the same point in 2010.”

Source: AAR

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