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After falling in February, crosstie production inched up 1.4 percent in March to 1.7 million units, according to the Railway Tie Association's (RTA) monthly market report.And after a "dramatic" gain the previous month, tie purchases climbed another 6 percent in March to 2.2 million units, RTA officials said in the report. Inventories dropped 2.2 percent to 19.3 million ties.In the first quarter, tie production declined 9 percent to 5.5 million units and purchases fell 10 percent to 5.6 million units on a year-over-year basis."Compared with the fourth quarter, production was off 6.6 percent while purchases were up 22 percent," RTA officials said.Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data showed production was leveling off, yet increased 5.4 percent versus March 2012 to 24.7 million units. Purchases totaling 22.5 million were falling at a 1.5 percent annual pace, RTA officials said. Inventories increased 13 percent during the 12-month period and the inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 0.75 to 0.86.
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