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.


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Coal Leads Short Line Carload Gains in May

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in May 2017 was higher compared to May 2016. Total carloads were up 12.5 percent, from 327,971 in May 2016, to 369,120 in May 2017.

Gains were led by coal, up 54.7 percent over May 2016. Grain increased by 35.7 percent and crushed stone, sand and gravel carloads by 28.4 percent. Motor vehicles and equipment experienced the greatest decline, down 8.4 percent. (Click here to download the carloads by commodity file as an Excel table).

Total carloads for 2017 are at 1.76 million through May 31, up about 113,000, or 7 percent, from 2016.

Railinc publishes this information as a service to the rail industry. The Railinc Short Line and Regional Traffic Index can also be found monthly in Railway Age Magazine. For questions or comments, please contact the Railinc Corporate Communications department.