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U.S. rail traffic shot up 12 percent to 526,471 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending March 25 compared with the same week in 2016, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).Total carloads for the week soared 12.4 percent to 260,897 units, while intermodal volume jumped 11.6 percent to 265,574 containers compared with the same period last year.Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR follows weekly posted increases compared with the same week in 2016. They included grain, up 21.8 percent to 23,312 carloads; coal, up 19.8 percent to 79,422 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, up 15.8 percent to 22,248 carloads.Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the year-ago period were motor vehicles and parts, down 1.5 percent to 18,390 carloads; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 1.4 percent to 10,591 carloads.Canadian railroads also moved considerably more traffic during the week ending March 25 compared with last year. Carloads rose 13.1 percent to 80,295 units, while intermodal skyrocketed 21.7 percent to 62,580 containers and trailers. Mexican railroads posted a 20.6 percent increase in carloads — to 16,008 units for the week. Mexican intermodal traffic rose 36.8 percent to 9,591 containers and trailers compared with last year's 12th week.For the first 12 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads logged a cumulative volume of 6,184,117 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.2 percent compared to last year. Canadian railroads moved cumulative volume of 1,674,268 carloads, containers and trailers, up 8.6 percent; and Mexican railroads posted cumulative volume of 315,393 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 0.6 percent compared with the same 12-week period in 2016.