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Still no signs of recovery in the real economy.  Rail traffic for the latest week reported yet another huge year over year decline of 17.9%.  The comps should get easier as we move into the third and fourth quarter, but make no mistake – the “better than expected” earnings are not a sign of a v-shaped recovery, but rather an overly pessimistic group of analysts.

The AAR reports:

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2009 — The Association of American Railroads today reported that rail carloadings for the week ended July 25, 2009 continue to show slight improvement, but rail traffic remains down compared with the same period last year. U.S railroads reported originating 273,943 cars, down 17.4 percent compared with the same week in 2008. Regionally, carloadings were down 15.6 percent in the West and 20 percent in the East.

Intermodal volume of 193,332 trailers or containers was down 17.9 percent from the same week last year. Container volume fell 12.1 percent and trailer volume dropped 39.1 percent. Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending July 25 was estimated at 29.3 billion ton-miles, down 16.3 percent from the same week last year.

All 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from last year with declines ranging from 2.9 percent for nonmetallic minerals to 57.9 percent for metallic ores.

For the first 29 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 7,610,311 carloads, down 19.1 percent from 2008; 5,376,118 trailers or containers, down 17.2 percent, and total volume of an estimated 809.7 billion ton-miles, down 18.1 percent.


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