Rail traffic is up slightly for week ending September 10, says AAR

Carload volume—at 278,382—was up 0.1 percent year-over-year and was down compared to the previous three weeks.

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Rail traffic was up slightly for the week ending September 10, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume—at 278,382—was up 0.1 percent year-over-year and was down compared to the previous three weeks, which hit 299,943, 300,521, and 292,266, respectively. 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 2.7 percent in the East and up 1.8 percent out West.
Carloads on a year-to-date basis are at 10,411,861 for a 1.8 percent annual increase.

Intermodal volumes for the week at 208,090 were up 0.6 percent compared to last year and were down compared to the previous two weeks at 236,051 and 236,980, respectively.

Intermodal volumes on a year-to-date basis at 8,139,710 are up 5.7 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, 13 were up annually. Stone, clay and glass products were up 20.3 percent, and farm products excluding grain were down 36.9 percent. 

Estimated ton-miles for the week were 32.2 billion which was up 1.6 percent on an annual basis, and on a year-to-date basis, the 1,173.3 billion ton-miles recorded were up 2.8 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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