The latest Rail Time Indicators report from the Association of American Railroads came out yesterday.
Thanks to snow, it was kind of a weird month, as the AAR states, and there were significant infrastructure impediments.
Here’s what they said on that topic:
The year-over-year increase for February 2011 is the smallest since July 2010. As we said last year at this time, the U.S. freight railroad network is basically a 140,000-mile outdoor assembly line. And like all assembly lines, parts of it break down occasionally. For railroads, that’s often due to weather — hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and, most recently, mudslides and huge February snowfalls in much of the country.
There’s no question that the heavy snow negatively affected railroads in February 2011, both by making rail operations more difficult and by preventing rail customers from originating or receiving loads. Some of these loads were probably lost forever; others were only delayed. The first week of February 2011 was the lowest-volume non-holiday week for U.S. railroads since February 2010 — which is also when heavy snow buried a good chunk of the country — and the second week of February 2011 wasn’t much better. The last two weeks of February 2011 saw much higher traffic volumes, probably in part because of “catch up” traffic. February 2010 rail traffic
As for some charts, well.
Here’s a look at total volumes:
And here’s the YOY look at the same:
Coal shipments did buck the trend, and firm sequentially:
Chemical shipments slid a little, but are still close to peak levels:
Grain, which has been red hot, took a sharp sequential dive:
Auto parts had a nice bump:
And finally, here’s lumber, which is still close to one of the worst months ever: