U.S. railroads might have gotten off to a good start in 2008 if severe winter storms in the East hadn't dampened traffic. During the year's first week ending Jan. 5, the roads originated 277,741 carloads, down 3.2 percent compared with traffic from the same week in 2007, according to the Association of American Railroads. Both weeks included New Year's Day. Carloadings rose 5.4 percent in the West but tumbled 15.1 percent in the East because of the storms. U.S. railroads didn't generate much intermodal traffic out of the gate, either. Weekly intermodal volume totaled 163,801 containers and trailers, down 13.1 percent year over year. Containers dropped 12.6 percent and trailers plummeted 15 percent. Total volume for the week reached an estimated 28.5 billion ton-miles, representing a 2.4 percent decline from the same 2007 period. In Canada, railroads' carload traffic in the first week decreased 7.3 percent to 64,756 units, but intermodal volume rose 6.9 percent to 34,680 units compared with figures from the same 2007 period. On a combined-volume basis in the first week, reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 342,497 carloads, down 4 percent, and 198,481 containers and trailers, down 10.2 percent year over year.
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