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The weekly rail traffic continues to post sharply negative figures despite yearly comps that should be showing improvements in the data.  Intermodal traffic posted a 12.4% decline vs the same period last year.   Although we’ve seen marginal improvements in this data over the course of the last few months I believe it’s safe to say that the rail data is reflecting a very weak rebound in the overall economy.

From the AAR:

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 24, 2009 — The Association of American Railroads today reported 282,341 carloads for the week ending Sept. 19, 2009, down 9.6 percent compared with the same week in 2008. While the weekly year-over-year percentage decline was better than for the previous week ending Sept. 12, 2009, down 19.8 percent, this week in 2008 was impacted by service disruptions associated with Hurricane Ike. Regionally, carloadings were down 4.8 percent in the West and 15.8 percent in the East.

Intermodal traffic of 205,137 trailers or containers on U.S. railroads was down 12.4 percent from the same week last year. Container volume fell 6.29 percent and trailer volume dropped 35.5 percent.

Fifteen of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from last year. However, chemicals were up 17.4 percent, petroleum products were up 6.7 percent and farm products (excluding grain) were up slightly by 3.3 percent.

For the first 37 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,831,638 carloads, down 18.2 percent from 2008; 6,936,253 trailers or containers, down 16.8 percent, and total volume of an estimated 1.05 trillion ton-miles, down 17.3 percent. Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending September 19 was estimated at 30.2 billion ton-miles, off 8.5 percent from the same week last year.


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