Rail traffic is down for the week ending August 27, says AAR

Carload volume—299,943—was down 0.8 percent annually and was down compared to 300,521 during the week of August 20.

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Rail traffic was down slightly for the week ending August 27, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume—299,943—was down 0.8 percent annually and was down compared to 300,521 during the week of August 20 and ahead of the week ending August 13 at 292,266. 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 1.2 percent in the East and down 0.6 percent out West. Carloads on a year-to-date basis are at 9,830,960 for a 1.9 percent annual increase.

Intermodal volumes for the week at 236,051 was down 0.5 percent compared to a year ago, which was down from the week ending August 20 at 236,980.

Intermodal volumes on a year-to-date basis at 7,697,679 are up 6.1 percent compared to 2010. Shippers continue to turn to intermodal as an alternative to trucking movements, as they can see significant fuel savings in exchange for a longer transit time.

Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 11 were up annually. Metallic ores were up 26.1 percent, and farm products, excluding grain, were down 20.5 percent.

Estimated ton-miles for the week were 34.5 billion which was flat on an annual basis, and on a year-to-date basis, the 1,106.2 billion ton-miles recorded were up 3.0 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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