The latest reading on rail traffic is consistent with the economic recovery theme. Recent data has been particularly volatile, but the trend remains solidly positive on a YoY basis. The AAR detailed this week’s data:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported record gains in rail traffic for the week ending April 2, 2011, with U.S. railroads originating 305,905 carloads, up 5.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week was also up 19.4 percent compared with the same week last year, totaling 234,308 trailers and containers. This week’s carload total is the highest since late 2008. The comparison week from 2010 includes the Good Friday holiday.Fifteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases from the comparable week in 2010. Those groups posting significant increases included: motor vehicles and equipment, up 25.7 percent; metallic ores, up 23.4 percent, and metals and products, up 19.5 percent. The commodity groups reporting a notable drop in weekly traffic were primary forest products, down 29.3 percent, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 12.4 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 5 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 6.1 percent compared with the same week in 2010.
For the first 13 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,773,949 carloads, up 5.1 percent from last year, and 2,856,227 trailers and containers, up 8.7 percent from the same point in 2010.”