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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Transportation Services Index made headway in March

The Transportation Services Index (TSI) in March ratcheted up 0.3 percent from February's level to 114.4, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS). On a year-over-year basis, the index rose 1.8 percent.

The Freight TSI in March also increased 0.3 percent from February's level, reaching 113.7. The index measures the monthly output of for-hire rail, trucking, inland waterway, pipeline and air freight firms.

"The Freight TSI increased for a fifth consecutive month in March, though more slowly than the average growth of the index in that period," BTS officials said in a press release. "There was growth across most freight modes but seasonally adjusted rail traffic declined. Shipments of coal and grain by rail showed year-to-year declines."

Compared with March 2012's level, the Freight TSI rose 2.8 percent. With the March increase, the index has exceeded its 2012 range for three months in a row, BTS officials said.

Meanwhile, the Passenger TSI in March inched up 0.2 percent to 116.1. However, the index — which measures the monthly output of for-hire air, local transit and intercity rail providers — declined 0.7 percent on a year-over-year basis.

In the first quarter, the TSI increased 0.9 percent, Freight TSI rose 1.3 percent and Passenger TSI inched up 0.1 percent compared with first-quarter 2012 levels.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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