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Friday, December 09, 2011

AAR: Rail Traffic increased in November

by Calculated Risk on 12/09/2011 12:41:00 PM

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports carload traffic in November increased 2.3 percent compared with the same month last year, and intermodal traffic (using intermodal or shipping containers) increased 3.8 percent compared with November 2010.

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported gains in November 2011 rail traffic compared with the same month last year, with U.S. railroads originating 1,476,635 carloads, up 2.3 percent, and 1,162,249 trailers and containers, up 3.8 percent. November 2011 saw the largest year-over-year percentage increase in carload traffic since March 2011.
“In November, U.S. rail carload traffic saw its highest year-over-year percentage increase in eight months, and year-over-year intermodal traffic grew for the 24th straight month,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. “There are still clearly a lot of things that aren’t right with the economy, but we hope this improvement in rail traffic is a sign that the pace of economic growth is increasing.”
On a seasonally adjusted basis, carloads in November were up 0.9% from last month, and intermodal in Novmeber was up 0.8% from October.

Rail Traffic Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows U.S. average weekly rail carloads (NSA).

Rail carload traffic collapsed in November 2008, and now, over 2 years into the recovery, carload traffic is about half way back to the pre-recession levels.

The second graph is for intermodal traffic (using intermodal or shipping containers):

Rail TrafficGraphs reprinted with permission.

Intermodal traffic is close to the peak year in 2006. Usually October is the strongest month for intermodal shipping as retailers stock up for the holiday season. That was true again this year, but shipping held up pretty well in November too.

Overall rail traffic improved in November - and this suggests somewhat sluggish growth, and may indicate that the pace of growth is increasing a little.
All Current Transportation graphs