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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

RTA on May's tie market: Purchases skyrocketed, production inched up


After relatively slow activity in April, crosstie purchases were hopping in May, ballooning 43 percent on a month-over-month basis to 2.75 million units, according to the Railway Tie Association's (RTA) monthly market report.

Tie production, on the other hand, was relatively flat versus April, inching up 1.7 percent to 1.75 million units. But compared with May 2012 output, production tumbled 23 percent last month, RTA officials said in the report.

In addition, tie inventories in May totaled 23.9 million units, down 5.2 percent compared with April — the largest month-over-month drop since June 2010, they said. The inventory-to-sales ratio fell from from 0.87 in April to 0.80 in May.

Through 2013's first five months, purchases totaled 10.2 million units, down 3.9 percent, and production totaled nearly 9 million units, down 13.5 percent compared with levels from the same 2012 period.

Meanwhile, 12-month rolling totals showed both production (18.1 million units) and purchases (22.7 million units) were gradually receding from last year's high levels, RTA officials said.

"Production peaked in October and has declined by more than 6 percent as of May," they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/25/2013