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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: November the 11th straight month with year-over-year traffic gains


In November, U.S. carloadings rose 4.5 percent and intermodal traffic jumped 11.3 percent compared with November 2009 levels, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

On an unadjusted basis, carloads climbed in 14 of 19 commodity groups, including metallic ores, up 86 percent; primary metal products, up 26 percent; coke, up 19.9 percent; and crushed stone, gravel and sand, up 18.7 percent.

However, seasonally adjusted data shows carloads declined 1.1 percent and intermodal traffic dipped 0.4 percent vs. October totals.

“Even though U.S. rail volumes were down in November from October levels — due largely to Thanksgiving — November marks the 11th straight month in which rail volumes were higher than year-earlier levels. That hasn’t happened since January 2006,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a prepared statement. “We’re hopeful that recent gains in consumer confidence and some recent encouraging signs regarding consumer spending will mean a continuation of economic growth and further growth in rail traffic.”

Also in November, railroads brought 465 rail cars out of storage, leaving 317,810 cars — or about 20.8 percent of the North American fleet — still idle, according to the AAR.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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