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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Tie purchases reach highest total since 1987, RTA says

Despite a 12 percent drop in November and a 7 percent decline in December, crosstie purchases totaled 18.7 million units in 2005, a 5.6 percent increase compared with 2004 and the highest total since 1987, according to the Railway Tie Association’s (RTA) monthly market report.

Tie production totaling 19.3 million units decreased 0.4 percent compared with 2004 but reached the third-highest level since 1987, when RTA began keeping records. At year’s end, the inventory-to-sales ratio climbed to 0.83 after falling to 0.75 in July.

During the fourth quarter, tie purchases totaling 4.4 million units and production totaling 5.2 million units rose 18 percent and 19 percent, respectively, compared with fourth-quarter 2004.

“Purchases were 31 percent above the fourth quarters from the prior five years,” RTA officials said in the report. “Likewise, production was almost 27 percent higher.”

In December, production of 1.7 million ties dropped 7 percent compared with November — and fell slightly below seasonal norms — but tie inventories increased by 626,000 units to 15.5 million, RTA said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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