Week 35 of 2018 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) improved according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data.

Analyst Opinion of the Rail Data

This was a very strong week for rail.

We review this data set to understand the economy. If coal and grain are removed from the analysis for carloads, this week it expanded 16.9 %. We primarily use rolling averages the analyze the data due to weekly volatility – and the 4 week rolling average for the intuitive sectors improved from 3.4 % to 7.1 %.

Intermodal transport growth remains strong year-over-year.

The following graph compares the four-week moving averages for carload economically intuitive sectors (red line) vs. total movements (blue line):

.This analysis is looking for clues in the rail data to show the direction of economic activity – and is not necessarily looking for clues of profitability of the railroads. The weekly data is fairly noisy, and the best way to view it is to look at the rolling averages (carloads [including coal and grain] and intermodal combined).

  Percent current rolling average is larger than the rolling average of one year ago Current quantities accelerating or decelerating Current rolling average accelerating or decelerating compared to the rolling average one year ago 4 week rolling average +3.2 % accelerating accelerating 13 week rolling average +3.2 % accelerating accelerating 52 week rolling average +2.4 % accelerating accelerating

A summary of the data from the AAR:

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