No signs of economic slow-down in this week’s rail data.  Consistent with recent readings, rail traffic remained strong this week with carloads posting gains of 6.2% and intermodal traffic reporting 16.8% gains.  The 10 week average ticked up to 6.5% for intermodal traffic while the first five weeks of the year logged a 4.5% gain versus last year.  AAR has the details:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported an increase in weekly rail traffic for the week ending February 4, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 284,546 carloads, up 6.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 232,590 trailers and containers, up 16.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Note that the comparison week five in 2011 was affected by significant winter weather events.

Sixteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with metallic ores, up 63.2 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 42 percent, and petroleum products, up 40.5. The group showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included grain, down 9.7 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 8.3 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first five weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,429,346 carloads, up 1.3 percent from last year, and 1,110,227 trailers and containers, up 4.5 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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  1. Cullen – could you give an update on your alog; you still shorting? seems like the euphoria is done and that good news no longer bringing the markets up.

  2. http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/02/where-are-the-bears-2/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheBigPicture+%28The+Big+Picture%29

    VXX held up today and there is trouble breaking over 1355 but who knows where things go from here?
    Why would Cullen be short when the Rails are still going strong? I guess I missed the Short call. Last I heard he was out at 1257 or something like that.
    Thanks Anon and Jay for the update .Can you link to where when short was mentioned?

  3. Cullen, you are an active fund manager who manages real money on behalf of clients, right? If so, do you run your own fund?

    … and if so, how the heck do you find time to do that and run this blog?? I barely find time to do my job and read it!

    Can we find out more details about your fund, if you have one?

  4. My fund is private now. I am actually in the process of starting a new RIA now. Not sure if I am going to manage money for the public again in the coming years, but I certainly might. I’d like to start offering services that do more to help the public rather than a select few rich guys. It’s work in progress, but I am excited about it. I think I can do a lot more to really help people and provide services more in-line with the ideals I try to espouse here at the site….

  5. Can I interest you in some Side A D&O insurance for that RIA?


  6. Cullen: “I’d like to start offering services that do more to help the public rather than a select few rich guys.”

    So awesome!!! PLEASE sign me up! You can run my money any day, Cullen.

  7. I don’t have much to offer, but I plan on spending the next 20 years of my life trying to educate people and offer a more broadly beneficial service than the one I have been offering over the last 8 years. So yes, that’s the goal hopefully! I can’t make you rich, but I do think I can help people better understand money and their investments so as to make better and more informed decisions.

  8. It seems like the chart would be more useful if the weekly average was a different color. Kinda hard to see when there is lots of noise on the main signal,maybe green would stand out better.

  9. I really think the rail traffic has been due to the Bakken and oil shipments from Cushing to LA. Plus some other mining plays. Gold mines in NV have been booming.

    However, petroleum usage has recently been falling off a cliff, both gasoline and diesel.