For the first time since July 2008, major U.S. railroads in March saw a monthly gain in freight carloadings over the same period a year earlier.
The Association of American Railroads said U.S.-owned carriers – five Class I railroads plus several regionals that report their traffic to the industry group – saw carloads of bulk materials and equipment rise 7.5 percent from the same month in 2009.
After a steep recession their volume was still down 11.5 percent from March 2008. “It will take some time for traffic to rebound to where we were in 2006 – the best year in history for rail traffic,” said John Gray, AAR senior vice president of policy and economics.
Intermodal traffic for the U.S. majors was up 12.1 percent in March from the same month last year, but down 4.5 percent for the same month in 2008.
For carloads, March saw 16 of 19 major cargo categories increase year over year, the AAR said.
And on a seasonally adjusted basis, U.S. carloads were up 3.9 percent just from February 2010, while intermodal was up 2.1 percent.
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