Research reports that provide insights into the size and characteristics of the North American railcar and locomotive fleets in 2019 are now available from Railinc, the railroad industry's resource for rail data and information services.
"These reports highlight essential statistics and overall trends about the railcar and locomotive fleets," says Railinc President and CEO E. Allen West. "They are useful for railroads, shippers, rail suppliers, and others who want to keep on top of equipment changes in our industry."
Some of Railinc's most-recent findings include:
• Overall, the number of cars in North America's revenue earning fleet*—mostly tanks, covered hoppers, and flats—has increased slightly.
• At the same time railcars are trending larger. More than 80 percent of all new additions to the fleet have a gross rail load (GRL) of 286,000 lbs.
• Newer units in the locomotive fleet trend toward six-axle AC units, with a horsepower rating of 4,000 or higher. Overall, the number of locomotives in the fleet has decreased slightly.
Both the "North American Freight Railcar Review" and the "North American Locomotive Review" are presented annually by Railinc senior data scientist, Dr. David Humphrey, at the Rail Equipment Finance Conference, which this year was held in March in California.
Humphrey says reporting the trends in the railcar and locomotive fleets has always provided the industry with valuable tools for increasing productivity, achieving operational efficiencies, and keeping assets moving. Railinc compiles all data in the reports from its Umler® system, which tracks more than two million pieces of rail equipment in North America.
"Now, as we deal with the COVID-19 crisis, having access to the real-time data that feeds these reports is even more important for North American supply chain managers," says Humphrey. "Accurate rail fleet capacity data is a critical tool for making adjustments in the shipment of essential commodities."