Railinc Rail Industry Indexes

Railinc publishes monthly and quarterly indexes as a service to the rail industry. These indexes provide a snapshot of the demographics of the North American railcar fleet and an analysis of commodities being shipped via rail. Browse through the archive below or use the Search box to query a specific month or quarter.

Railinc publishes the following two indexes:

Umler® Equipment Index
The Umler® Equipment Index provides quarterly analysis of the total make-up of the North American rail equipment fleet. Data in the index represents all equipment units on file in Railinc's Umler system, including pre-registered, restricted and scrap units. It is published during the first month of each quarter.

Railinc Short Line and Regional Traffic Index
The Railinc Short Line and Regional Traffic Index provides year-to-year analysis of commodities shipped by carloads. It is published monthly and includes shipping and commodities data from approximately 500 railroads. This information can also be found monthly in Railway Age magazine.

Important note: Due to database changes used in the short line reporting calculation, data reported before February 2015 may contain variances that make it unsuitable for trend analysis or comparison. Beginning in February 2015, the Short Line Index was corrected to account for these variances. Because not all of the data for past periods are retained, we are unable to restate historical data on a comparable basis.

 

Petroleum Products Drive Short Line Carload Gains

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in April 2018 was up compared to April 2017. Total carloads increased 2.7 percent, from 343,665 in April 2017 to 352,781 in April 2018. Petroleum products led gains with a 22.2 percent increase. Crushed stone, sand and gravel as well as pulp, paper and allied products also increased, up 21.7 percent and 15.3 percent,...
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Intermodal, Covered Hoppers Top Umler Index

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet was up slightly during the first quarter of 2018. The total equipment count was 2,083,915, for an increase of 0.2 percent. The three largest segments during the quarter were covered hoppers (28.4 percent), tank cars (20.6 percent) and gondolas (11.1 percent). Four car groups increased from the last quarter, led by intermodal, up...
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March Short Line Carloads Down from Previous Year

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in March 2018 was down compared to March 2017. Total carloads decreased 0.8 percent, from 362,391 in March 2017 to 359,479 in March 2018. Crushed stone, sand and gravel led gains with a 28.8 percent increase. Nonmetallic minerals and pulp, paper and allied products also increased, up 15.7 percent and 12.2 percent,...
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Short Line Carloads Decrease in February

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in February 2018 was down compared to February 2017. Total carloads decreased 0.8 percent, from 323,194 in February 2017 to 320,474 February 2018. Chemicals led gains with a 14.6 percent increase. Lumber and wood products and petroleum products also increased, up 12.1 percent and 11.7 percent, respectively. Trailer or...
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Short Line Carloads Decrease in January

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in January 2018 was down compared to January 2017. Total carloads decreased 2.3 percent, from 346,367 in January 2017 to 338,247 in January 2018.     Crushed stone, sand and gravel led gains for the fourth month in a row with a 13.6 percent increase, followed by petroleum products and lumber and wood...
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Flats, Covered Hoppers Lead Umler Index Gains

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet was up slightly during the fourth quarter of 2017. The total equipment count was 2,080,707, compared to 2,072,490 in the third quarter of 2017, for an increase of 0.4 percent.   The three largest segments during the quarter were covered hoppers (28 percent), tank cars (21 percent) and gondolas (11 percent).   ...
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Short Line Carloads Increase in December

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in December 2017 was higher compared to December 2016. Total carloads were up 1.4 percent, from 324,700 in December 2016, to 329,320 in December 2017.   Crushed stone, sand and gravel led gains for the third straight month, up 31.6 percent over the previous year. Metals and products increased by...
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Short Line Carloads Decrease in November

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in November 2017 was lower compared to November 2016. Total carloads were down 0.2 percent, from 346,485 in November 2016, to 345,839 in November 2017. Crushed stone, sand and gravel led gains for the second month in a row, up 27.0 percent over the previous year. Coal carloads were up 17.8 percent, and...
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Short Line Carloads Show Gains in October

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in October 2017 was higher compared to October 2016. Total carloads were up 3.1 percent, from 355,182 in October 2016, to 366,304 in October 2017. Crushed stone, sand, and gravel led gains, up 25.6 percent over the previous year. Coal carloads increased 25.2 percent, while nonmetallic minerals were up 20.5...
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Covered Hoppers, Flats Lead Umler Index Gains

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet was up slightly during the third quarter of 2017. The total equipment count was 2,072,490, compared to 2,066,516 in the second quarter, for an increase of 0.3 percent.   The three largest segments during the quarter were covered hoppers (28 percent), tank cars (21 percent) and gondolas (11 percent).   ...
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