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Rail Traffic Continues to Soften, but Still Expanding

Rail traffic continued to show some signs of softening as intermodal traffic came in at just 2.6% year over year, but this remains positive and consistent with an economy that is marginally expanding.  The quarterly moving average dipped to 3.5% this week from 3.8% last week.  The AAR has more details on the release:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 13, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 285,089 carloads, down 6.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 250,826 trailers and containers, up 2.6 percent compared with the same week last year.

Twelve of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with farm products excluding grain, up 55.1 percent; petroleum products, up 52.6 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 16.6 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included metallic ores, down 26.8 percent; iron and steel scrap, down 21 percent, and coal, down 16.9 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 10.4 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 3.3 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first 41 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,610,934 carloads, down 2.7 percent from the same point last year, and 9,713,203 trailers and containers, up 3.7 percent from last year.”