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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RTA report: Tie purchases rise, production falls in February

After a strong start to 2008, crosstie purchases continued to increase in February. Tie purchases rose 8 percent to 2 million units compared with January's total, according to the Railway Tie Association's (RTA) monthly tie market report.

However, tie production in February totaled 1.7 million units, down 11 percent month over month. In addition, tie inventories fell 1.7 percent to 16.6 million units.

During 2008's first two months, tie purchases totaled 3.9 million, up 21 percent, and tie production totaled 3.7 million units, up 4 percent compared with totals from the same 2007 period.

Rolling 12-month market data shows production, which peaked at 22.6 million units in September 2006 then slowly eased to 20.5 million units in December 2007, climbed back to 21.1 million units.

"Purchases peaked in February 2007 at 22 million ties, then followed a rather uneven path down to 19.8 million in June 2007, and have recovered to 20.4 million currently," RTA said.

Compared with year-ago levels, purchases are down about 7 percent, production is down 4 percent and inventories are up 4 percent. The inventory-to-sales ratio stood at 0.81, equal to its five-year average, RTA said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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