The volume of rail carloads originated by U.S. railroads dropped 13.8% in the last week of 2012 year-on-year, and intermodal fell 14%, according to the Association of American Railroads. However, intermodal activity last year rose 3.2% from 2011 levels while rail carloads fell 3.1%. from 2011. "A number of key rail carload categories showed solid improvement in 2012, including categories like autos and lumber that are most highly correlated with economic growth," said John Gray, AAR senior vice president.

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