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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Tie production sizzled, purchases fizzled in September, RTA says


Crosstie purchases continued an “erratic” trend in September, falling to 1.86 million units from August’s 2 million units, according to the Railway Tie Association’s (RTA) latest market report. In addition, tie inventories stretched a seven-month-long contraction to eight months, tumbling 0.6 percent from August’s level to 15.1 million units.

However, tie production jumped 14 percent in September to 1.77 million units — the highest level since July 2009, RTA said.

Through 2010’s first nine months, purchases fell 5 percent to 15.6 million units and production plummeted 34 percent to 12 million units compared with totals from the same 2009 period.

Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data shows purchases — which for most of the calendar year had stabilized at about 18 million units — increased to 18.8 million units, the report states. Production dropped 16 percent to 16 million units, but an ongoing decline “appears to be at an end,” RTA officials said. Inventories decreased more than 15 percent and the inventory-to-sales ratio stood at 0.81 — the lowest level in 17 months.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/8/2010