Rail Traffic Continues to Accelerate Higher

The latest from the AAR shows an acceleration in recent rail trends.   Carloads are up 1.7% while intermodal jumped to 6.8%.  This brought the 10 week moving average to 4.9%, its highest reading since February of this year.   AAR has more details:

“WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 19, 2012 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported gains in weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 14, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 286,156 carloads, up 1.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 245,915 trailers and containers, up 6.8 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 motor vehicles and equipment, up 46.6 percent; petroleum products, up 39.2 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 13.3 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 25 percent; metallic ores, down 14 percent, and farm products excluding grain, down 13.5 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 2.1 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 4.1 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first 28 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 7,854,130 carloads, down 2.6 percent from the same point last year, and 6,499,007 trailers and containers, up 3.5 percent from last year.”


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Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services.

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  • rick

    How does the low level of the Mississippi and the reduction in barge traffic compare with the increase in rail traffic? Is this just a wash?

  • hangemhi

    “the same week last year” appears to have been an especially weak week.

  • John A

    Barge traffic on the Mississippi is mostly commodity cargo. The railroad data increases include intermodal, which consists mostly of finished goods in containers.

  • quark

    I find this indicator useless. The economy continues to sink and this is growing? I have to say that it correlstes well with the stock market…another useless indicator of economic health.

  • Bill

    Yardeni looks at similar but removes coal – http://blog.yardeni.com/2012/07/railroads.html