The recovery in rail traffic continued into the first week of 2011 though the rate of improvement has noticeably declined over the course of the last few months. The consistent double digit gains from 2010 are a thing of the past as intermodal traffic posts a 8.6% YoY gain to start 2011. All in all, however, the data was relatively strong (via AAR):
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported rail traffic was up for the first week in 2011 ending January 8, with U.S. freight railroads originating 285,108 carloads, up 20.1 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal traffic for the week totaled 213,665 trailers and containers, up 8.6 percent compared with the same week in 2010, with container volume up 10 percent and trailer volume up 1 percent. Several changes to the carload commodity groups took effect this week including the addition of two new groups, Iron and Steel Scrap (Group 18) and Waste and Nonferrous Scrap (Group 19).Fifteen of the 20 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2010. Those carload commodity groups posting increases of over 50 percent included: metallic ores, up 55.7 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 54.3 percent. Commodities reporting declines were waste and nonferrous scrap, down 9.5 percent; nonmetallic minerals, down 8.9 percent; grain mill products, down 1 percent; pulp, paper and allied products, down .3 percent; and coke, down .2 percent.
Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 18.9 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, carload volume was up 20.9 percent compared with the same week in 2010.”