AAR reports rail traffic is down for week ending July 9

Carload volume—at 245,574—was down 3.2 percent year-over-year.

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Rail traffic was down for the week ending July 2, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume—at 245,574—was down 3.2 percent year-over-year and behind the week ending July 2, which hit 285,943 and the week ending June 25 at 284,562 and the week ending June 17 at 294,310. It was also behind the week ending April 2, which hit 305,905 carloads, marking the highest weekly carload tally since the end of 2008.

Carload volume was down 1.3 percent in the East and down 4.2 percent out West. Carloads on a year-to-date basis are at 7,784,801 for a 2.5 percent annual increase.

Intermodal checked in at 192,619 trailers and containers for a 0.2 percent decrease from last year. This is well below tallies from recent weeks, including 236,988 for the week ending July 2. The two highest weeks of the year were the weeks ending June 17 and June 10 reaching 237,682 and 237,422, respectively, intermodal hit 234,775 for the week ending June 25.

Intermodal volumes on a year-to-date basis at 6,048,752 are up 7.5 percent compared to 2010.

Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 13 were up annually. Iron and steel scrap was up 32.5 percent, and coal was down 10.5 percent.

Estimated ton-miles for the week were 28.3 billion for a 2.4 percent annual increase, and
on a year-to-date basis, the 870.6 billion ton-miles recorded were up 3.6 percent.


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Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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