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Although comps are becoming increasingly difficult we continue to see solid year over year growth in rail traffic.  For the first 47 weeks of the year total volume is up 7.1% from last year (via AAR):

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported for the week ending Nov. 27, 2010, U.S. freight railroads maintained traffic gains of 3.2 percent over the same week last year, originating 254,121 carloads. The comparison week from 2009 included the Thanksgiving Holiday. Intermodal traffic for the week totaled 183,790 trailers and containers, up 10.8 percent compared with the same week in 2009, with container volume up 11.7 percent and trailer volume up 6.1 percent.After 47 weeks, all 19 carload commodity groups posted cumulative gains over last year. For the current week, fifteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009. Commodities posting double digit gains in loadings included: metallic ores, up 78.6 percent; coke, up 53.9 percent; metals, up 26.6 percent; and waste and scrap, up 14.5 percent. Among commodities reporting declines were motor vehicles and equipment, down 28.4 percent; primary forest products, down 10.1 percent; and grain, down 9.8 percent.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 6.1 percent compared with last year. In the West, carload volume was up 1.6 percent compared with the same week in 2009.

For the first 47 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,462,287 carloads, up 7.1 percent from last year, and 10,248,236 trailers or containers, up 14.3 percent from the comparison week in 2009.”