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A 4 percent increase in intermodal volume helped boost U.S. railroads' overall traffic for the week ending March 7 compared with the year-ago period.Total U.S. carloads for the week dipped 2.1 percent to 268,620 compared with the same period in 2014. But with the 4 percent increase in intermodal volume to 253,762 containers and trailers, total U.S. weekly traffic moved up 0.8 percent to 522,383 carloads and intermodal units, according to the Association of American Railroads.Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases during the week: grain, up 11.5 percent to 20,840 carloads; farm products, up 10.1 percent to 17,496 carloads; and chemicals, up up 2.7 percent, to 30,483 carloads.Commodity groups that recorded lower volumes during the week included coal, down 6.5 percent to 101,837 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 4.1 percent to 14,187 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, down 2.7 percent to 29,549 carloads.Also during the week, Canadian railroads reported carloads rose 9.2 percent to 76,315, while intermodal volume soared 14.1 percent to 58,622 units. Mexican railroads carloads climbed 10.8 percent to 15,977 carloads, while intermodal units jumped 19.6 percent.For the first nine weeks of 2015, U.S. railroads posted total combined traffic of 4,706,897 carloads and intermodal units, with no percentage increase. Canadian railroads posted cumulative volume of 1,207,152 carloads and intermodal units, a 9.1 percent increase; and Mexican railroads reported cumulative volume of 240,194 carloads and intermodal units, a 3.5 percent increase.