The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported mixed results for August rail traffic compared with the same month last year, with U.S. railroads originating 1,482,570 carloads, down 0.3%, and 1,179,838 trailers and containers, up 0.4%.
In August 2011, 12 of the 20 carload commodity categories saw increases compared with August 2010.
The largest gains were in metallic ores, up 6,665 carloads or 16.6%; motor vehicles and parts, up 5,577 carloads or 8.8%; and primary metal products (mainly steel), up 5,238 carloads or 11.1%.
Compared to August 2010, grain carloads in August 2011 were down 18,423 or 17.1%, and coal carloads were down 11,747 or 1.7%.
Excluding coal and grain, U.S. rail carloads in August 2011 were up 26,362 carloads or 3.7% over August 2010.
As of September 1, 2011, 271,404 freight cars of the North American fleet, were in storage. This is 5,539 fewer cars than on August 1.
In addition to monthly traffic, AAR also reported a dip in weekly rail traffic, with U.S. railroads originating 303,260 carloads for the week ending September 3, 2011, down 0.4% compared with the same week last year.
For the first 35 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,133,479 carloads, up 1.9% from the same point last year, and 7,931,620 trailers and containers, up 5.8% from last year.