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6/4/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

EPA's rail-car delivery forecast gloomy to partly cloudy


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First, it was 31,600. Then, 20,100. Now, Economic Planning Associates Inc. (EPA) is predicting 18,100 North American rail-car deliveries in 2002 — the lowest level since 1987 — according to its recently released "Outlook for Rail Cars" quarterly report.
EPA is basing its prediction on weak first-quarter rail-car orders (2,637) and a "paltry" backlog (6,443).
Although its delivery estimate dwindled in quarterly reports released in November, March and May, EPA officials believe second-half orders will pick up for tank, box, coal and certain types of flat cars, leading to more deliveries next year.
Increasing carload and intermodal traffic, an improving economy and aging fleets also will help spur rail-car demand to 29,700 deliveries in 2003, EPA says.
Deliveries then should rise to 42,000 in 2004 and steadily increase to 59,500 by 2007.


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