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Rail News: Mechanical

ARCI update: Rail-car orders continue to mount, but so do component concerns


First-quarter North American rail-car orders totaling 17,692 rose 49 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2003's 12,063 orders and 52 percent compared with first-quarter 2003's 11,767 orders, according to the American Railway Car Institute Committee (ARCI) of the Railway Supply Institute.

Orders were driven by increasing demand for covered hoppers, and flat, tank and box cars.

Quarterly car deliveries totaling 10,012 increased 6 percent and 52 percent compared with fourth- and first-quarter 2003 figures, respectively. The quarterly backlog — units ordered but not yet delivered — of 42,424 cars rose 76 percent and 24 percent compared with last year's first and last quarters, respectively.

However, raw material and component concerns continue to cloud the car-building industry despite increasing orders, ARCI says.

"[The] continued shortage of truck castings, and the spike in steel prices and scrap surcharges along with limited steel availability has the industry concerned about being able to respond to this increased demand for new cars in 2004," said ARCI spokesman Tom Simpson in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/3/2004