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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

National Multilevel Reload Pool reaches 55,000 units


The National Multilevel Reload Pool has grown to 55,000 bi- and tri-level rail cars, which are designed to transport new automobiles and light trucks.

Launched in 1979, the reload program now includes 10 railroads, 114 loading locations and 159 unloading locations. Railroads — which move about 70 percent of all vehicles produced in the United States — work with automakers to improve fleet utilization by reducing cycle times, implementing new technology, and promoting damage-free vehicle loading and unloading techniques.

Since late 2005, multi-level car availability has increased while bad order cars have decreased 41 percent for tri-levels and 54 percent for bi-levels. In addition, average shop time for car repairs has declined 31 percent.

The Multilevel Pool Executive Committee (MPEC), which includes automotive transportation experts from the 10 railroads, was formed in 1981 to support and monitor the pooled fleet's service commitments. The Association of American Railroads provides legal, technical and administrative support for the committee.

"By using the pool, railroads in the United States, Canada and Mexico can deliver vehicles with greater reliability than ever before," said David Julian, MPEC chairman and president of automotive and supply chain services for Norfolk Southern Corp., in a prepared statement.

If vehicles did not move by rail via the pool, trucks would have to transport the automobiles and light trucks, generating about 1.5 million tractor-trailer trips annually, according to the MPEC.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/25/2008