April 27, 2007 8:00 AM, EDT

Rail, Intermodal Fall Again

TT File Photo

Rail carload and intermodal freight both fell last week compared with a year ago, continuing a trend this year, the Association of American Railroads said.

Rail intermodal volume was down 2.1% to 231,419 trailers and containers, the group said in its weekly report Thursday.

Container volume dipped 0.3%, while trailers dropped 8.4%. Rail carloads fell 2.8%.

The declines were the sixth straight for intermodal and the fifth carload drop in the past six weeks.

Total volume was estimated at 33.8 billion ton-miles, down 1.5% from last year.

Railroad volume is considered an important economic indicator. Intermodal traffic, which tends to be higher-valued merchandise than bulk commodities, uses trains for the long haul and trucks for the shorter distance at either end of the trip.