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U.S. railroads logged an 11 percent increase in combined carload and intermodal traffic for the week ending Dec. 23 compared with the same week a year ago, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).Total carloads for the week climbed 10.8 percent to 270,356 units, while intermodal volume soared 11.3 percent to 281,210 containers and trailers compared with the same week in 2016, AAR officials said in a press release.Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases compared with last year's numbers. They included nonmetallic minerals, up 9,934 carloads; metallic ores and metals, up 5,576 carloads; and coal, up 5,374 carloads. Grain — down 183 carloads — was the only group to post a year-over-year decrease.Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported carload traffic rose 9.7 percent to 83,911 units, while intermodal volume shot up 23.3 percent to 68,925 units for the week compared with last year. Mexican railroads posted 17,615 carloads for the week, up 16.9 percent compared with a year ago, and 10,541 intermodal units, up 6.4 percent.North American rail volume for the week — on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads — increased 12 percent to 732,558 carloads and intermodal units compared with a year ago.For the first 51 weeks of 2017 compared with the same week last in 2016:• U.S. railroads logged 27,092,928 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.6 percent;• Canadian railroads reported 7,460,974 carloads, containers and trailers, up 10.9 percent; and• Mexican railroads posted 1,406,541 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 1.9 percent.