Photo: Jim Park

Photo: Jim Park

New figures show intermodal rail freight traffic continued surging last week hitting a record high, while major railroads in November posted another year-over-year increase in total traffic.

The Association of American Railroads said Thursday for the week ending Nov. 29, U.S. railroad intermodal volume totaled 220,873 units, up 6.2% compared with the same week last year and the highest level on record. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 492,532 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.2% compared with the same week last year.

For all of November the group reported U.S. intermodal rail traffic for Class I railroads totaled 1,035,054 containers and trailers, up 2.7%, or 27,463 units, over November 2013. The weekly average volume was 258,764 for the month, the highest for any November in history.

U.S. rail traffic for November, which includes both carload and intermodal volume, increased compared with November 2013. U.S. Class I railroads originated 1,161,820 carloads, up 1.4%, or 16,396 carloads, over November 2013, the ninth straight month of year-over-year increases in carloads, according to AAR.

In November, combined U.S. carload and intermodal rail originations were 2,196,874 units, up 43,859 units, or 2% over November 2013. The weekly average total volume of 549,219 units in November was the highest weekly average total for November since 2007.

For the first 11 months of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,992,560 carloads, up 3.4% from the same point last year, and 12,494,133 intermodal rail units, up 5.2% from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 11 months of 2014 was 26,486,693 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.3% from last year.

“It’s not always easy to tell from available indicators how the economy is performing and that is true for rail traffic in November when some traffic categories showed solid growth, others not so much,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Today, railroads are moving more traffic than at any time since 2007.”