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.



Trailers, Containers Lead Short Line Index Gains

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroad in September 2018 was up compared to September 2017. Carloads originated increased 4.0 percent, from 337,450 in September 2017 to 351,034 in September 2018.

Trailer or container led gains with a 19.6 percent increase. Chemicals were up 15.3 percent, and metals and products and pulp, paper, and allied products increased about 14 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Coal again led declines, down 12.4 percent. The motor vehicles and equipment; waste and scrap materials; crushed stone, sand and gravel; nonmetallic minerals; food and kindred products; and all other carloads categories were also down in September.

Click here to download the Carloads by Commodity table as an Excel file.

Carloads originated for 2018 were at about 3.2 million through September 30, up about 62,000 carloads, or 1.9 percent from 2017.

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.