Rail data has been volatile these last few weeks, but the trend remains firmly positive, though consistent with only a modestly expanding economy. This week’s data was a bit mixed with carloads posting a modest gain and intermodal declining a bit. The AAR has details:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported an mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending February 11, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 279,501 carloads, up 1.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 227,207 trailers and containers, down 0.4 percent compared with the same week last year.
Twelve of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 29.9 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 27.2 percent, and metallic ores, up 23.7 percent. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included nonmetallic minerals, down 26.3 percent, and farm products excluding grain, down 21.5 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 4.1 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 5.7 percent compared with the same week in 2011.
For the first six weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,708,847 carloads, up 1.3 percent from last year, and 1,337,434 trailers and containers, up 3.7 percent from last year.”