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Rail News: Mechanical

Rail-car deliveries still on the rise, two reports say


Because second-quarter rail-car deliveries were stronger than expected and the U.S. economy showed no signs of weakening into the third quarter, car deliveries will total 67,692 units by year end, according to FTR Associates’ third-quarter rail-car market report. The transportation forecasting firm’s year-end projection rose 7.5 percent compared with its prediction in a second-quarter report released in June.

However, several economic factors might impact car deliveries next year and into 2007, including the Gulf Region hurricanes’ effect on energy costs, FTR officials said in the “N.A. Railroad Equipment and Deliveries Outlook” report.

“There continues to be a significant amount of uncertainty regarding the direction of the economy over the next four quarters,” said FTR President Eric Starks in a prepared statement. “We are concerned that rising fuel prices will hinder consumer spending as well as push the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates.”

Meanwhile, the American Railway Car Institute Committee (ARCI) of the Railway Supply Institute released its third-quarter report, which shows car deliveries totaling 16,987 units rose 44 percent and 7.6 percent compared with third-quarter 2004 and first-quarter 2005, respectively. However, third-quarter deliveries dropped 5.2 percent compared with the second quarter.

Third-quarter car orders totaled 17,439 units, an 8.9 percent and 14.2 percent decline compared with the second quarter and third-quarter 2004, respectively. The car backlog as of Oct. 1 totaled 60,986 units, a slight increase compared with the 60,544-unit backlog on July 1 and 59,416-unit backlog on April 1. On Oct. 1, 2004, the car backlog totaled 61,052 units, ARCI said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/17/2005