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 - February 2016

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads increased by 14 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Total carloads were up from 290,963 in February 2015 to 331,709 in February 2016. Metallic ores led commodity gains with a 183 percent increase, followed by trailer or container & grain mill products, up 46 percent and 37 percent, respectively. The only...
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Railinc Short Line Index - January 2016

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads decreased by about 5 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Total carloads were down from 341,663 in January 2015 to 323,123 in January 2016.   Metallic ores and trailer or container led commodity gains with a 62 percent and a 17 percent increase, respectively.The most significant declines were observed in...
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Umler Equipment Index - Fourth Quarter 2015

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet held steady during fourth quarter 2015. The total equipment count was 2,060,914 in the fourth quarter, compared to 2,056,726 during the third quarter of 2015, resulting in a 0.2 percent increase. The three largest segments this quarter were covered hoppers (26 percent), tank cars (21 percent), and gondolas (12...
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Railinc Short Line Index - December 2015

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads decreased by 6 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Total carloads were down from 356,316 in December 2014 to 333,751 in December 2015. Metallic ores led commodity gains with a 57 percent increase. The only other commodities experiencing gains this month were petroleum products and chemicals, up 15 percent and...
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Railinc Short Line Index - November 2015

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads decreased slightly by 2 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Total carloads were down from 331,740 in November 2014 to 326,535 in November 2015.   Petroleum products led commodity gains with a 15 percent increase, followed by grain mill products and pulp, paper, and allied products, up 14 and 13 percent...
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Railinc Short Line Index - October 2015

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads decreased by 5 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Total carloads were down from 381,609 in October 2014 to 362,018 in October 2015.   Grain mill products led commodity gains with a 6 percent increase, followed by chemicals and grain, up 3 percent each. The most significant declines were observed in...
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Railinc Short Line Index - September 2015

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads decreased by 1 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Total carloads were down from 360,369 in September 2014 to 356,011 in September 2015.  Chemicals led commodity gains with an 8 percent increase, followed by food and kindred products and coal, up 7 and 6 percent, respectively. The most significant...
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Umler Equipment Index - Third Quarter 2015

The total size of the North American rail equipment fleet once again held steady during third quarter 2015. The total equipment count was 2,056,726 compared to 2,048,067 during second quarter 2015, resulting in a 0.4 percent increase from the previous quarter.    The three largest segments this quarter were covered hoppers (26 percent), tank cars (20...
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Railinc Short Line Index - August 2015

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads increased slightly by 1.5 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Total carloads were up from 355,680 in August 2014 to 360,936 in August 2015. Trailer or container led gains with a 31 percent increase, followed by grain mill products and food and kindred products, up 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively. The most...
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Railinc Short Line Index - July 2015

The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads increased by 2.2 percent in year-to-year comparisons. Total carloads were up from 357,763 in July 2014 to 365,509 in July 2015.   Trailer or container led gains with a 46 percent increase, followed by food and kindred products and nonmetallic minerals, up 12 and 11 percent, respectively. The most...
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