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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Rebounding rail-car orders rising from rock bottom, ARCI says

Rail-car builders can breathe a bit easier: Second-quarter rail-car orders increased to 6,973, the highest quarterly total since first-quarter 2001 and a little more than double second-quarter 2001's 3,461 orders, according to data released July 19 by American Railway Car Institute Committee (ARCI) of Railway Progress Institute.

Although the quarter's 4,155 car deliveries were less than half of second-quarter 2001's 8,982 deliveries, the industry's quarterly backlog totaled 9,281 cars, which surpassed first-quarter 2002's 6,443 cars and fourth-quarter 2001's 8,089 cars.

Second-quarter car orders were driven by higher demand for tank, flat and aluminum coal cars, ARCI said.

"Improved orders in the second quarter offer cautious optimism that the North American freight-car building industry is rebounding, and that 2002 will in fact be the bottom of the freight-car building cycle," said ARCI spokesman Thomas Simpson in a prepared statement.

Despite recent gains, ARCI predicts that 2002 will be the "worst" year for rail-car builders since 1987.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/23/2002