This week’s rail traffic trends continue to show a growing economy. Through the first 51 weeks of the year total carloads were up 2.2%. That’s about consistent with the economic growth we’ve been seeing at the GDP level. This week’s data was particularly strong with intermodal traffic surging 23% compared to last year. The AAR has more details:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported gains in weekly rail traffic, with U.S. railroads originating 287,137 carloads for the week ending Dec. 24, 2011, up 11.9 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 217,952 trailers and containers, up 22.9 percent compared with the same week last year.
Sixteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2010, including: crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 59.7 percent; nonmetallic minerals, up 39.6 percent, and petroleum products, up 36.4 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included: coke, down 2.6 percent, and grain, down 2.4 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 17.8 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 8.5 percent compared with the same week in 2010.
For the first 51 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 14,910,326 carloads, up 2.2 percent from the same point last year, and 11,711,214 trailers and containers, up 5.4 percent from last year.”