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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Tie purchases soar, production stabilizes in December, RTA says


After increasing 8 percent in November, crosstie purchases jumped 32 percent in December to 1.3 million units, according to the Railway Tie Association’s (RTA) monthly tie market report. Purchases had dropped sharply in September and October.

After a four-month slide, tie production stabilized in December at 1.25 million units vs. November’s 1.24 million units, the report states.

Although both tie production and purchases continued to fall from spring and summer highs, full-year production rose 9 percent to 22.2 million units while full-year purchases declined 6 percent to 19.6 million units compared with 2008 figures. The inventory-to-sales ratio climbed from 0.80 at 2008’s end to 0.96 at 2009’s end.

In the fourth quarter, tie production plummeted 30 percent to 4 million units and purchases tumbled 24.5 percent to 3.2 million units compared with fourth-quarter 2008 totals.

“For the most part, quarterly numbers climbed during 2008 and fell during 2009,” RTA officials said in the report.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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