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There is a bit of good news in this sea of red – rail traffic continues to report robust figures. The AAR is reporting that U.S. rails originated 295,718 carloads.  This was higher by 16.3% year over year, but down 11.6% from 2008.  Intermodal traffic was higher by 13.2% and down 5.4% versus 2008.

Gains were broad:

“The Association of American Railroads said today that the growth in rail freight traffic continued during the week ended May 1, 2010, as all 19 carload freight commodities and both intermodal categories were up from a year ago for the second consecutive week.

Gains in carload freight were led by a 333.1 percent jump in metallic ore loadings. Loadings of metals were up 109.2 percent, scrap was up 67 percent and coke gained 43.8 percent. Other significant increases included motor vehicles, 25.8 percent; grain, 24.5 percent; lumber, 18 percent; crushed stone, sand & gravel, 13.9 percent; chemicals, 10.4 percent; and coal, 7.4 percent.”

Source: AAR