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For the week ending March 22, U.S. railroads reported 291,525 carloads, up 4.5 percent, and 260,713 intermodal loads, up 10.6 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Total combined U.S. traffic climbed 7.3 percent to 552,238 units and nine of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by grain at 16 percent and petroleum/petroleum products at 10.3 percent. Eastern rail intermodal volume rose 14 percent while western volume increased 9 percent, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.'s weekly "Rail Flash" report."Norfolk Southern noted that intermodal volumes had picked up in recent weeks as weather became milder, indicative of pent-up demand. Railroad service was particularly impacted in the first quarter to date by severe winter weather," Baird analysts said in the report. "[Our] contacts believe network fluidity should be restored by April; and as long as service is consistent, they do not see the disruptions as likely to impair intermodal's value proposition going forward."For the week ending March 22, Canadian railroads reported 77,484 carloads, down 2.2 percent, and 54,576 intermodal units, up 8 percent year over year. Mexican railroads reported 15,963 carloads for the week, up 3.3 percent, and 8,379 intermodal units, up 6.9 percent.Through 2014's first 12 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 4,336,896 carloads, down 1.3 percent, and 3,664,850 containers and trailers, up 2.4 percent compared with volumes from the same 2013 period.