Rail traffic continues to show signs of a very tepid economic recovery as carloads and intermodal rail traffic got off to slow starts to the new year. Total carloads were off 12.7% compared to 2008 while intermodal traffic declined 3.6%. The breadth of the weakness continued to narrow, however, as 11 of the 19 commodity groups were up compared to 2008.
This weakness in rail data was best displayed by yesterday’s Railtime Indicators Report from the AAR which showed the weakest annual rail data in over 20 years. While the sequential trend continues to improve there is little doubt that the recovery is still very weak.