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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Tie purchases soar, production falls in March, RTA says


Tie purchases picked up in March. So much so, the number of ties ordered reached its highest level in the past five Marches, according to the Railway Tie Association's (RTA) monthly market report. Purchases totaled 2.3 million units, up 15 percent compared with February's total.

However, tie production decreased 6 percent to 1.6 million units and the tie inventory dropped 4.2 percent to 16 million units compared with February's levels, the report states.

During the first quarter, tie purchases jumped 26 percent to 6.2 million units and production rose 10 percent to 5.3 million units compared with first-quarter 2007 totals.

"Purchases demonstrated their strongest quarter since the second quarter of 2006 and are at the second-highest level since RTA started collecting data," the report states.

Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data shows purchases were relatively stable the past nine months, averaging 20.4 million units, but jumped up to 21.6 million units in March. Production totaling 21 million units dropped 3.4 percent from year-ago levels, RTA said.

Inventories decreased about 4 percent and the inventory-to-sales ratio fell from 0.81 to 0.74, a "rather large adjustment," the report states.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/25/2008