Rail Traffic Growth Over 2010 Continues to Narrow

February 3rd, 2011
in econ_news

Econintersect: Rail traffic dropped slightly from 8.2% year-to-date over 2010 levels to 7.8% in the fourth week of the New Year.  Year-over-year gains for the third week rose from 3.5% last week to 6.6% this week.

Econintersect monitors rail traffic as one significant measure of the economy.  The coming weeks and months will tell what the real growth over 2011 will be.   This is the second week in the 8% YoY range, after starting the year much stronger.  It was in the first quarter of 2010 where the 2010 rail growth spurt hit.  This period will allow for true comparisions for a measure of rail industry growth in 2011.

Follow up:

Coal is the major product on USA railroads - and shipments are now up strongly YoY.


Total US Rail Traffic

Major Commodity Groups Total Grain Chemicals Food Forest Metals Coal Autos Intermodal
Current Week
Vs. 2010 6.6% 6.7% 4.8% (5.3%) 9.2% 5.4% 4.7% 5.3% 9.2%
Vs. 2009 14.3% 50.3% 15.5% 4.5% 7.3% 26.5% 2.9% 53.3% 17.4%
4 Week Rolling Avg.
Vs. 2010 7.8% 9.9% 6.5% (3.0%) 5.5% 16.5% 8.8% 2.6% 7.4%
Vs. 2009 8.5% 28.8% 17.5% 3.8% 3.3% 42.0% (4.2%) 69.6% 10.1%
Quarter to Date
Vs. 2010 7.8% 9.9% 6.5% (3.0%) 5.5% 16.5% 8.8% 2.6% 7.4%
Vs. 2009 8.5% 28.8% 17.5% 3.8% 3.3% 42.0% (4.2%) 69.6% 10.1%
Year to Date
Vs. 2010 7.8% 9.9% 6.5% (3.0%) 5.5% 16.5% 8.8% 2.6% 7.4%
Vs. 2009 8.5% 28.8% 17.5% 3.8% 3.3% 42.0% (4.2%) 69.6% 10.1%

Total Rail Traffic

source: Railfax






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  1. Douglas Roberts says :

    I too pay close attention to Railfax. Thanks for your interpretation.

  2. Douglas Roberts says :

    I forgot to ask in my last post. Railfax is fine for rail traffic, but what about electricity usage?

  3. admin (Member) Email says :

    Douglas, a quick down and dirty method for electricity production is inside of the Federal Reserves Industrial Production (IP).

    you can see utility production and capacity here: http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/current/table0.txt

    i keep my eye on this index as an old power plant builder. overall, the % of capacity picture today is similar to the 70's. usage seems to be creeping up - but that is balanced by new production coming on line.

    i worry that the 40 year design life of many nukes are coming. with the anti-nuke sentiment - we may be getting into a pickle.

    steven hansen

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