Total U.S. traffic for the week was down 1.1% compared with the same week last year, AAR said.
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR measures posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 28.7%. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included grain, down 21.8%, and metallic ores and metals, down 10.5%.
AAR pointed out that U.S. Class I railroads originated a record 97,135 carloads of crude oil in the first quarter of 2013, up 20% from the 81,122 carloads in fourth quarter of 2012 and a staggering 166% higher than the 36,544 carloads originated in the first quarter of 2012.
Canadian freight carload traffic rose 12.9% for the week of May 25 compared with the same week last year, while intermodal notched s substantial 31.3% gain. Mexican freight carload traffic also rose, up 14.5%, but Mexican intermodal volume declined 2.4%, for the week when measured against the comparable week in 2012.
Combined North American freight carload traffic for the first 21 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was down fractionally, 0.6%, compared with the same point last year, while combined North American intermodal was up 4.1%.