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.



Covered Hoppers Top Third Quarter Umler Index

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet was up during the third quarter of 2018. The total equipment count was 2,103,666, for an increase of 0.8 percent.

The three largest segments during the quarter were covered hoppers (29 percent), tank cars (21 percent) and gondolas (11 percent).

Four car groups increased from the last quarter, led by intermodal, up 3.8 percent, and EOTs, up 1.7. Covered hoppers and tanks increased 1.3 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Gondolas led declines, down 0.9 percent.

The total count of equipment in the revenue-earning fleet currently stands at about 1.65 million, up by 0.1 percent from the previous quarter. Covered hoppers led gains, up 0.4 percent. Open hoppers decreased the most (0.9 percent). 

The revenue-earning fleet is a subset of the North American rail fleet that is largely composed of freight cars that can be used in interchange service and against which an interline waybill can be placed. The revenue-earning fleet of freight cars is made up of six sub-fleets: box cars, covered hoppers, flats, gondolas, open hoppers and tank cars. It excludes locomotives, intermodal trailers and containers, maintenance-of-way equipment and end-of-train devices. 

Data Source: Railinc Umler System. Data represents all equipment units on files, including pre-registered, restricted and scrap units.

Copyright 2018 Railinc Corp. All Rights Reserved. Use of this information without written permission is prohibited. Railinc publishes this information as a service to the North American Rail Industry.