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.

 

Nonmetallic Minerals Top Short Line Index Gains

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroad in April 2019 was up compared to April 2018. Carloads originated increased 2.8 percent, from 355,358 in April 2018 to 365,357 in April 2019.  Nonmetallic Minerals led gains with a 40.2 percent increase. Grain Mill Products was up 27.2 percent, and Trailer or Container and Stone, Clay and Glass Products increased 15.2 and...
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IM Flats, Flats Lead Q1 Umler Index Gains

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet was up during the first quarter of 2019. The total equipment count was 2,115,741, for an increase of 0.4 percent. The three largest segments during the quarter were Covered Hoppers (28 percent), Tank Cars (21 percent) and Gondolas (11 percent). Five car groups increased from the last quarter, led by IM Flats, up 2.4 percent, and...
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March Short Line Carloads Down from Previous Year

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroad in March 2019 was down compared to March 2018. Carloads originated decreased 2.1 percent, from 359,689 in March 2018 to 352,268 in March 2019.  Trailer or Container led gains with a 31.3 percent increase. Nonmetallic Minerals was up 14.0 percent, and Grain Mill Products and Petroleum Products increased 12.2 and 3.0...
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Nonmetallic Minerals Lead Short Line Index Gains

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroad in February 2019 was slightly down compared to February 2018. Carloads originated decreased 0.9 percent, from 319,634 in February 2018 to 316,764 in February 2019. Nonmetallic Minerals led gains with a 46.5 percent increase. Trailer or Container was up 18.5 percent, and Grain Mill Products and Chemicals increased 14.6 and 6.3...
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Trailers, Containers Lead Short Line Index Gains

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroad in January 2019 was up compared to January 2018. Carloads originated increased 6.2 percent, from 337,700 in January 2018 to 358,785 in January 2019. Trailer or Container led gains with a 31.8 percent increase. Nonmetallic Minerals were up 31.0 percent, and Metallic Ores and Chemicals increased 20.8 and 15.3 percent...
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Covered Hoppers, Tank Cars Top Umler Index

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet was slightly up during the fourth quarter of 2018. The total equipment count was 2,106,390, for an increase of 0.1 percent. The three largest segments during the quarter were Covered Hoppers (29 percent), Tank Cars (21 percent) and Gondolas (11 percent). Six car groups increased from the last quarter, led by IM Flats, up 1.9...
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Short Line Carloads Increase in November

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroad in November 2018 was up compared to November 2017. Carloads originated increased 0.2 percent, from 344,778 in November 2017 to 345,507 in November 2018. Nonmetallic Minerals led gains with a 27.7 percent increase. Metallic Ores were up 26.9 percent, and Grain Mill Products and Trailer or Container increased 22.4 and 18.7...
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Nonmetallic Minerals Among Short Line Leaders

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroad in October 2018 was up compared to October 2017. Carloads originated increased 2.9 percent, from 364,874 in October 2017 to 375,486 in October 2018. Nonmetallic Minerals led gains with a 52.3 percent increase. Metals and Products were up 19.1 percent, and Trailer or Container and Chemicals increased 18.3 and 17.7 percent...
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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...
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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...
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