Rail Week Ending 30June2012: A Bad Week

July 6th, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Week 26 of 2012 ending 30 June 2012 shows same week rail traffic declined over 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). This reverses last week's gain which was the first growth since February 2012.

Excluding coal which is not an economic indicator, rail is expanding 0.9% (last week's reported 2.7%) same week year-over-year.

“Nine of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 51.8 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 18.5 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 11.9 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included grain, down 16.6 percent, and farm products excluding grain, down 16.8 percent.

Follow up:

A good background article on the switch of the power generating plants from coal to natural gas was published 30May2012 in the NYT. The week before GEI News had reported on the decline in coal usage over the past year.

The majority of the reason for rail year-to-date contraction is coal movements - which would only effect the profitability of railroads, and not an economic indicator as coal is an alternative fuel to oil and natural gas - U.S. production of those are up sharply in recent months.


This Week
Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year -2.5% 7.0% -2.2%
This week without coal
Year Cumulative to Date -2.9% 3.3% -2.0%



Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.

Steven Hansen

Source: AAR

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