The rail industry continues to show signs of stabilization. From the AAR:
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, U.S. freight railroads originated 1,089,977 carloads in February 2010 — an average of 272,494 carloads per week. That’s down 1.5% from February 2009 (276,548 average) and down 15.6% from February 2008’s 323,047 average.
The heavy snow negatively affected railroads, both by making rail operations more difficult and by preventing rail customers from originating or receiving loads. Some of these loads were probably lost forever; others were only delayed.
Some good news: in February 2010, 14 of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw U.S. carload gains compared to February 2009. Some not so good news: just 2 of the 19 were higher compared to February 2008. Commodities showing carload gains in February 2010 over February 2009 included chemicals (up 11.3%), steel and other primary metal products (up 40.9%), motor vehicles and equipment (up 21.1%), and grain (up 8.7%).
The full report follows: