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U.S. rail traffic slipped 0.3 percent to 523,949 carloads and intermodal units in the week ending Dec. 17 compared with the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported yesterday.Total carloads for the week fell 2.8 percent to 254,700 units, while intermodal volume rose 2.2 percent to 269,249 containers and trailers compared with a year ago.Three of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR monitors posted increases compared with the same week in 2015. They were grain, up 5.3 percent to 24,193 carloads; coal, up 2.5 percent to 87,219 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, up 1.5 percent to 20,955 carloads.Carload commodity groups that logged decreases compared with the same week a year ago included petroleum and petroleum products, down 15.6 percent to 11,089 carloads; nonmetallic minerals, down 12.5 percent to 27,842 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, down 10.8 percent to 17,640 carloads.Also during the week, Canadian railroads reported 73,342 carloads for the week, down 1.3 percent, and 57,428 intermodal units, which was flat compared with the same week in 2015. Mexican railroads posted 14,848 carloads, down 13.3 percent, and 10,391 intermodal units, up 12.9 percent, compared with a year ago.For the first 50 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads' year-over-year cumulative traffic volume declined 5.6 percent to 25,664,720 carloads and intermodal units. Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 6,598,167 carloads, containers and trailers, down 3.8 percent during the 50-week period. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 50 weeks of 2016 was 1,344,687 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.1 percent from the same point last year.