Rail Traffic Continues To Show Economic Expansion

by: Cullen Roche

More of the same in rail traffic here this week with signs of modest economic growth as intermodal traffic grew 2.9% year over year. This brings the 12 week moving average to 3.1%. Overall, it’s a pretty sluggish reading, but it’s still consistent with growth. John Gray from AAR refers to the data as “hopeful”:

"Those who follow the rail industry know that carloads of grain and coal can rise or fall by substantial amounts for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the state of the economy,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Not so with most other rail traffic categories, however. The fact that rail carloads excluding coal and grain were up 4.9 percent in September — the biggest year-over-year monthly gain since last December — is a hopeful sign.”

AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 28, 2013. U.S. railroads originated 296,809 carloads last week, up 0.5 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 269,853 units, up 2.9 percent compared with the same week last year and the highest intermodal total for any week in history. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week ending September 28 was 566,662 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.6 percent compared with the same week last year.

Chart via Orcam Research: