We have previously noted that as this year unfolds, it will be increasingly difficult to get a reasonable measure of rail traffic when comparing to prior year activity; particularly since the prior year (2020) was increasingly plunging into the pandemic. We all know now that while industrial activity fell off, the Federal financial stimulus to the economy benefited largely the household goods shippers and sellers, as measured with intermodal traffic boom.

There is some positive information from the most recent traffic data for the week ending April 17 as reported by AAR. In particular, some of the categories that were adversely affected by the pandemic’s economy are showing signs of real growth this year. These include carloads in the following categories: coal up 27.2%, Metallic ores and metals up 43.6%, motor vehicles and parts up 545.9%, and chemicals up 10.8%.

This most recent data support the view that the stock market was not wrong; things are speeding up in the economy, which is good news for most industries and the railroads.

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