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, 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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Short Line Carloads Down in September

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in September 2017 was lower compared to September 2016. Total carloads were down 2.5 percent, from 346,473 in September 2016, to 337,782 in September 2017.   Nonmetallic minerals led gains, up 23.2 percent over the previous year, and crushed stone, sand and gravel carloads were up 21 percent. Coal...
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Coal Leads Short Line Carload Gains in August

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in August 2017 was higher compared to August 2016. Total carloads were up 2.8 percent, from 361,405 in August 2016, to 371,493 in August 2017. Coal again led gains, up 22.1 percent over August 2016. Crushed stone, sand and gravel carloads were up 19.9 percent, while petroleum products were up 15.5 percent....
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Coal Tops Railinc's July Short Line Index

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in July 2017 was higher compared to July 2016. Total carloads were up 4.8 percent, from 337,344 in July 2016, to 353,632 in July 2017. Coal led gains again, up 25.9 percent over July 2016. Crushed stone, sand and gravel carloads were up by 24.4 percent, and metals and products increased 13.8 percent....
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Covered Hoppers, EOTs Lead Umler Index Gains

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet was down slightly during the second quarter of 2017. The total equipment count was 2,066,516, compared to 2,070,191 during the first quarter of 2017.   The three largest segments during the quarter were covered hoppers (28 percent), tank cars (21 percent) and gondolas (11 percent).   Four car...
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Coal Tops Railinc's June Short Line Index

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in June 2017 was higher compared to June 2016. Total carloads were up 5.2 percent, from 343,348 in June 2016, to 361,165 in June 2017.   Coal led gains again, up 37.3 percent over June 2016. Crushed stone, sand and gravel carloads were up by 29 percent, and nonmetallic minerals increased 14.6 percent....
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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...
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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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