The American association of Railroads says it was a Down Week for Freight Traffic on U.S. Railroads.

WASHINGTON, January 29, 2009 — Freight traffic on U.S. railroads continued to trend downward during the third week of 2009, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported today. Carload freight totaled 267,634 cars, down 14.6 percent from the comparison week in 2008, with loadings down 9.2 percent in the West and 22.1 percent in the East. Intermodal volume of 195,182 trailers or containers was off 7.1 percent from last year, with container volume falling 2.3 percent and trailer volume dipping 23.9 percent. Total volume was estimated at 28.4 billion ton-miles, off 13.4 percent from 2008.

Combined North American rail volume for the three weeks of 2009 on 14 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 1,015,857 carloads, down 17.3 percent from last year, and 738,351 trailers and containers, down 12.3 percent from last year.

Railroads reporting to AAR account for 89 percent of U.S. carload freight and 98 percent of rail intermodal volume. When the U.S. operations of Canadian railroads are included, the figures increase to 96 percent and 100 percent. The Canadian railroads reporting to the AAR account for 91 percent of Canadian rail traffic. Railroads provide more than 40 percent of U.S. intercity freight transportation, more than any other mode, and rail traffic figures are regarded as an important economic indicator.

Weekly Traffic of Major U.S. Railroads

click on chart for sharper image

The only thing on the list that held up was coal, most likely utility related. Coke, used in manufacturing was down 19.9%; coal was only down 2.2%. Motor vehicle traffic was down a whopping 65.4%. Thanks to Bobbi-Sue for sending that chart.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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