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Rail News: Mechanical

Railinc report: North American rail-car fleet's size swelled, average age shrank in 2012

The size of the North American revenue-earning freight-car fleet increased 1 percent in 2012, but still didn't return to pre-recession levels, according to Railinc's annual "North American Freight Railcar Review."

In addition, among sub-fleets that experienced growth in 2012, tank-car fleets increased the most, at 4 percent, while hoppers fleets registered the biggest decline at 3 percent, the report states. The average fleet age decreased slightly — the first time in four years that the fleet got younger — and the trend of cars with a gross rail load of 286,000 pounds predominating new fleet additions continued in 2012, Railinc officials said in a report summary.

"Notably, there was an increase in North America's three largest sub-fleets, including covered hopper cars, tank cars and gondola cars," said David Humphrey, Railinc's senior analyst, adding that the other North American sub-fleets are hopper cars, flat cars and box cars.

The report includes statistics and overall trends from the Railinc Umler™ system in 2012.


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