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Rail News: Mechanical

Rail-car orders to rise, but casting crunch will constrain near-term production, EPA says


With economic, industrial and financial indicators on the rise, rail-car orders that have been picking up steam in the fourth quarter will continue to escalate through 2004 and into 2005, according to Economic Planning Associates Inc.'s (EPA) quarterly "Outlook for Rail Cars" report.

Orders also will be spurred by the low number of cars acquired in 2001 and 2002, which will pressure railroads and fleet owners to replace aging equipment, EPA said.

Although fourth-quarter orders are increasing for coal, box, flat, centerbeam and some tank cars, the domestic castings shortage is expected to constrain production through first-half 2004. EPA projects car deliveries of 30,000 in 2003, 39,000 in 2004 and 45,000 in 2005.

Between 2005 and 2008, railroads and fleet owners will seek to replace steel-bodied coal, box and multi-level flat cars, as well as mid-sized and small-cube covered hoppers. During the same timespan, marketplace demand will increase for centerbeam, tank and coal cars, and high-cube covered hoppers and intermodal equipment, helping increase deliveries to 58,000 by 2008, EPA said.

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More News from 12/3/2003