Total intermodal traffic rose by 14.2% to 11.3 million lorry trailers and containers, compared with 9.9 million in 2009.
The rises represent the largest year-on-year increase in wagon loads
and intermodal traffic since the AAR began recording this data in 1998.
However, 2010 still saw the second-lowest annual wagon loads in 22
years, behind only 2009.
aar.jpg"Like the economy in general, rail traffic recovered some lost ground
but not nearly all of it," says AAR senior vice-president Mr John Gray.
"That being said, monthly rail traffic increases were broad based,
supporting the idea that the economic recovery is also broad based."
All 19 of the commodity categories monitored by the AAR saw wagon load
increases in 2010 compared with 2009. The greatest annual gains were in
metallurgical ores (up 89.2%), metals and metal products (44.9%) and
chemicals (9.6%).
Freight railways have also continued to bring wagons out of storage,
resurrecting more than 132,000 wagons during 2010. However 316,271
wagons, roughly 20.8% of the North American fleet, remained in store on
January 1.
Employment at the Class 1 railways reached 155,000 by November, a year-on-year increase of 8000 staff.