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The discrepancy between rail traffic and many other leading indicators continued this week as rail volumes continue to log healthy figures. There is a very real tug-of-war going on between certain parts of the economy at present. Rail traffic was slow to recover from the recession – one has to wonder if it isn’t lagging again. Via the AAR:

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported rail intermodal volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Aug. 14, 2010 was the highest of 2010, with 233,767 total trailers and containers, up 20.8 percent from the same week in 2009, but down 1.4 percent compared with 2008. Weekly container volume, a subset of intermodal, was the highest on record up 22.4 percent compared with the same week in 2009, and up 6.4 percent with the same week in 2008. Trailer volume, the other subset of intermodal, rose 12.3 percent last week compared with the same week in 2009, but fell 31 percent compared with 2008.In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008.

Carload traffic continued moderate weekly gains, with U.S. railroads originating 295,948 carloads for the week, up 7.1 percent compared with the same week in 2009, but down 11.3 percent from the same week in 2008.

Sixteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009. Those posting the most significant increases were metallic ores, up 65.4 percent; metals and metal products, up 38.8 percent; and farm products excluding grain, up 37.6 percent. Two commodity groups, farm products excluding grain and metallic ores, also posted increases over 2008.”

rails2 INTERMODAL RAIL VOLUME HITS 2010 HIGH

Source: Intermodal Rail Volume Hits 2010 High