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Total U.S. railroad traffic declined 2.9 percent to 508,239 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Jan. 20 compared with the same week a year ago, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).Total carloads for the week fell 7.6 percent to 241,258 units, but intermodal volume ticked up 1.8 percent to 266,981 containers and trailers compared with the third week of 2017, AAR reported in a press release.Two of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week a year ago. They were forest products, up 478 carloads to 10,217; and petroleum and petroleum products up 338 carloads, to 10,554.Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with Week 3 in 2017 included coal, down 8,153 carloads to 82,683; nonmetallic minerals, down 3,923 carloads to 26,377; and motor vehicles and parts, down 2,750 carloads to 14,560.Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 76,447 carloads for the week, down 4.1 percent, and 65,369 intermodal units, up 2.9 percent compared with the same week in 2017. Mexican railroads' traffic fell in both carload and intermodal categories. Mexican railroads reported 21,485 carloads for the week, down 1.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 18,394 intermodal units, down 1.8 percent.For the first three weeks of 2018 compared with the year-ago period:• U.S. railroads reported combined traffic of 1,436,038 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.2 percent;• Canadian railroads reported combined traffic of 399,694 carloads, containers and trailers, down 0.1 percent; and• Mexican railroads reported combined traffic of 108,163 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 0.4 percent.Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America for the first three weeks of 2018 was 1,943,895 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.7 percent compared with 2017.