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.

 

Railinc Short Line Index - April 2017

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in April 2017 was higher compared to April 2016. Total carloads were up, from 329,183 in April 2016, to 347,845 in April 2017.   Grain led gains with a 28.9 percent increase, followed by coal, up 20.2 percent, and waste and scrap materials, which increased 12.0 percent. Metallic ores experienced the...
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Umler Equipment Index - First Quarter 2017

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet held steady during the first quarter of 2017. The total equipment count was 2,070,191, compared to 2,071,118 during the fourth quarter of 2016.   The three largest segments this quarter were covered hoppers (27 percent), tank cars (21 percent) and gondolas (11 percent).   Groups experiencing the...
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Railinc Short Line Index - March 2017

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in March 2017 was higher compared to March 2016. Total carloads were up, from 343,664 in March 2016, to 368,080 in March 2017.   Trailer or container led gains with a 29.6 percent increase, followed by petroleum products, up 27.6 percent, and coal, which increased 22.5 percent. Motor vehicles and equipment,...
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Railinc Short Line Index - February 2017

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads was unchanged compared to February 2016. Total carloads were up slightly, from 326,753 in February 2016, to 326,770 in February 2017. Nonmetallic minerals led commodity gains with a 54.8 percent increase, followed by coal, which was up 25.5 percent. Metallic ores, grain mill products, and pulp, paper and allied...
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Railinc Short Line Index - January 2017

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads increased compared to January 2016. Total carloads were up 9 percent, from 321,002 in January 2016 to 350,038 in January 2017.   Nonmetallic minerals led commodity gains with a 76.3 percent increase, followed by coal and waste and scrap materials, up 43.2 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Metallic ores...
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Umler Equipment Index - Fourth Quarter 2016

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet decreased slightly during the fourth quarter of 2016. The total equipment count was 2,071,118, compared to 2,073,563 during the third quarter, resulting in a 0.1 percent decrease.   The three largest segments this quarter were covered hoppers (27 percent), tank cars (21 percent), and gondolas (12 percent).  ...
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Railinc Short Line Index - December 2016

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads held steady in December 2016 compared to the previous year. Total carloads were up less than 1 percent, from 329,043 in December 2015 to 329,890 in December 2016.   Grain led commodity gains with a 22 percent increase, followed by trailer or container, up 21 percent. Metallic ores and crushed stone, sand,...
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Railinc Short Line Index - November 2016

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads increased 10 percent compared to November of the previous year.  Total carloads were up from 320,572 in November 2015 to 352,463 in November 2016. Trailer or container led commodity gains with a 30 percent increase, followed by grain and petroleum products, up 20 and 18 percent, respectively. Nonmetallic...
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Railinc Short Line Index - October 2016

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads held steady with a less than 1 percent increase compared to October of last year. Total carloads were up from 357,806 in October 2015 to 360,212 in October 2016.   Metallic ores led commodity gains with a 15 percent increase, followed by grain and motor vehicles and equipment, up about 12 percent and 11...
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Umler Equipment Index - Third Quarter 2016

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet decreased slightly during the third quarter of 2016. The total equipment count was 2,073,563, compared to 2,076,537 during the second quarter, resulting in a 0.1 percent decrease.   The three largest segments this quarter were covered hoppers (27 percent), tank cars (21 percent), and gondolas (12 percent). ...
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