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RAIL DATA IMPROVES

Rail traffic was mixed this week as the Chinese New Year skewed some of the data according to the AAR.  Carloads fell 1.6% year over year and were down 15.3% versus 2008.  Intermodal traffic jumped 19% , but was down 11.1% versus 2008.  The year over year data was skewed by a sharp jump in container volume due to the week of the Chinese New Year.  As a result container volume rose 25% year over year.

The breadth of the data was slightly improved over last week.  The AAR reports:

The decline in total weekly carload volume was largely caused by a 16,828-carload drop in coal loadings. Twelve of the 19 carload freight commodity groups actually were up in comparison with the same week last year. Double-digit increases were reported in loadings of metals (44.6 percent), motor vehicles and equipment (30.5 percent), grain (21.9 percent), metallic ores (17.6 percent), grain mill products (14.4 percent) and chemicals (13.7 percent).

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