A solid year for U.S. Railroads. A good beginning, some uncertainness in the middle, and a good ending-that describes U.S. rail traffic in 2011. Total carloads for the year were 15.2 million, up 2.2% over 2010’s 14.8 million and up 9.7% over 2009’s 13.8 million.

The commodity with the largest year-over-year gain was metallic ores. (up 67,631 carloads or 20.5%)

The commodity with the biggest carload decline in 2011 from 2010 was grain. (down 27,946 carloads or 2.4%)

Notable carloading gains include motor vehicle and parts up 9.7%, primary metal products up 12%, chemicals up 3.4%, and crushed stone,gravel,and sand up 5.2%.

Rail Loadings continue to improve year over year from the recession levels of 2008-2009. The tangible economy continues to remain resilient according to Rail Traffic.

Here is a link to Railroad Traffic info for 2011:Railroad Traffic: 2011