Rail traffic once again was mixed on reporting U.S. railroads in the week ending May 12, 2012, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said, as the lines originated 279,063 carloads, down 5.2% compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 238,980 trailers and containers, up 3.1% compared with the same week last year but down slightly from the previous week.
Short lines eked out year-over-year growth in traffic, according to RMI's RailConnect Index of Short Line Traffic, with overall carloads — including intermodal — up 0.5% to 127,545. Intermodal volume for short lines was up 11.8%, to 11,578 carloads, while other traffic dropped 0.5% to 115,967 carloads.
The AAR said that major U.S. railroads reported increases for 12 of the 20 carload commodity groups compared with the same week in 2011, led by petroleum products, which were up 49%; motor vehicles and equipment, up 35.7%; and lumber and wood products, up 20.3%. Coal (down 16.2%), nonmetallic minerals (down 15.4%), and grain (down 11.4%) saw the steepest declines.
Canadian and Mexican railroads reported higher carload and intermodal volumes. Mexican railroads originated 14,510 carloads for the week, up 6.2%, and 9,666 trailers and containers, up 16.2%. Canadian railroads reported 79,063 carloads for the week, up 3.4% compared with the same week in 2011, and 52,456 trailers and containers, up 7.2%.