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Rail Traffic Slows, Still Consistent with Economic Expansion

This week’s rail traffic data continued to show signs of positive growth though the trend has weakened in recent weeks. Ā Intermodal traffic was up 3.2% year over year bringing the 10 week moving average down marginally to 5%. Ā  AAR offers some more details on this week’s data:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending August 11, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 289,172 carloads, down 1.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 243,030 trailers and containers, up 3.2 percent compared with the same week last year.

Ten of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 44.4 percent; lumber and wood products, up 19.8 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment, up 19.2 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included metallic ores, down 22 percent, and iron and steel scrap, down 11.1 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 7.6 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 3 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first 32 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,005,952 carloads, down 2.4 percent from the same point last year, and 7,482,092 trailers and containers, up 3.6 percent from last year.”