The trend in rail traffic is moderating a bit as traffic volumes have started to turn more and more mixed. According to the AAR carloads were flat on a year over year basis while intermodal traffic posted a solid gain. The 4 week moving average in traffic growth has stagnated a bit, but remains in the high single digits. The AAR has the details:
“WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 5, 2011 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed results in weekly rail traffic with U.S. railroads originating 295,347 carloads for the week ending April 30, 2011, flat compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 229,677 trailers and containers, up 7.8 percent compared with the same week in 2010.
Nine of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases from the comparable week in 2010. Metallic ores, up 22.1 percent, is the only group posting a notable increase. Primary forest products, down 23.5 percent, is the only group posting a notable decrease.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 2.4 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 1.7 percent compared with the same week in 2010.
For the first 17 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 4,951,226 carloads, up 3.8 percent from last year, and 3,770,745 trailers and containers, up 8.8 percent from the same point in 2010.”