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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

November traffic totals an '09 highlight for U.S. railroads, AAR says

In November, U.S. railroads’ carloads declined 8.2 percent compared with November 2008’s volume. But excluding the week of Thanskgiving, carloads reached their highest monthly level so far in 2009, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

U.S. manufacturing’s recovery appears to be continuing, AAR’s monthly Rail Time Indicators report states. The Purchasing Managers Index reached 53.6 in November — an index surpassing 50 is “thought to indicate growth in the manufacturing sector,” AAR officials said in the report. An uptick in manufacturing could lead to more rail moves of chemicals, steel and other products used to produce goods, they said.

Meanwhile, U.S. railroads’ intermodal traffic fell 6.7 percent in November. But consumer confidence rose from October’s 48.7 index to 49.5, meaning intermodal traffic might increase in the coming months, according to the Rail Time Indicators report.

“The economic indicators in [the] report lead us to believe that our nation's economy continues to improve,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John Gray in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/10/2009