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RAIL TRAFFIC SURGES AS 2011 COMES TO A CLOSE

Rail traffic continues its sharp rebound this week following last week’s slight dip.  Freight carloads are up 29.3% over 2009 while intermodal traffic surged 25.1%.  Breadth of the strength was much improved on the week as 17 of 19 commodity groups were higher (via AAR):

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly rail traffic posted strong gains over 2009 for the holiday week ending Dec. 25, 2010, with U.S. freight railroads originating 256,098 carloads, up 29.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal traffic for the week totaled 177,249 trailers and containers, up 25.1 percent compared with the same week in 2009, with container volume up 24.2 percent and trailer volume up 29.9 percent. Both the current week and the comparison week from 2009 included the holiday, however, Christmas 2010 fell on a Saturday while Christmas 2009 fell on a Friday.

Seventeen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009 with all posting double digit gains in loadings. Those carload commodity groups posting increases of over 50 percent included: metallic ores, up 65 percent, and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 55 percent. Commodities reporting declines were non-metallic minerals, down 18.7 percent, and grain mill products, down 2 percent.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 33.3 percent compared with last year. In the West, carload volume was up 27.2 percent compared with the same week in 2009.

For the first 51 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 14,580,055 carloads, up 7.3 percent from last year, and 11,115,442 trailers or containers, up 14.3 percent from the comparison week in 2009.”

Source: AAR

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