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A bit of a slowdown this week in rail traffic, but still expanding nonetheless (via AAR):

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Aug. 12, 2010 – The Association of American Railroads today reported only moderate gains in rail traffic for the week ending Aug. 7, 2010. U.S. railroads originated 284,507 carloads for the week, up 3.5 percent compared with the same week in 2009, but down 13 percent from the same week in 2008. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008. Note that U.S. rail traffic fell sharply in fall 2008, when the financial crisis took hold.

Intermodal traffic totaled 231,208 trailers and containers, up 18.6 percent from the same week in 2009, but down 1.2 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 19.8 percent and trailer volume rose 12 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume increased 6.8 percent and trailer volume dropped 30.7 percent.

Sixteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009, with metallic ores, up 61.2 percent, and metals and metal products, up 37.8 percent, posting the most significant increases. In comparison to 2008, all 19 commodity groups posted declines.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 3.2 percent from last year, but down 16.1 percent from 2008. In the West, carload volume was up 3.8 percent from last year but down 10.8 percent from two years ago.

For the first 31 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,745,778 carloads, up 7.2 percent from 2009, but down 13.1 percent from 2008, and 6,550,053 trailers or containers, up 13.7 percent from 2009, but down 5.8 percent from 2008.

Source: AAR