The rail industry publishes a multitude of data that provides insight to the state of transportation sector and our economy in general. We believe two indexes that are a direct negative correlation are Railroad Velocity and Carloads Originated. Railroad Velocity is the average speed of trains on a particular railroad. Both indexes can be divided into significant detail such as the speed of intermodal trains or how many loads of lumber were originated. For our discussion purposes we will just use the overall average of an index.
For the week ending February 13, 2016 all rail traffic was down 3.8% compared with the same week last year. The Short Line Index for Carloads originated is down about 5% from January 2015-January 2016.
Train Velocity, which is available to anyone on this link, shows that indeed train speeds have been increasing during the same period. As freight movements decline train speeds tend to increase. For example the chart for BNSF Railway below shows an increase of 21% from the week of February 13, 2015 through January 13, 2016. Consequently, the faster the train speeds the less equipment one needs to move freight.
All of this data can be an overload for determining how to solve your rail transportation problems. Everest Railcar Services, Inc., is the only railcar leasing company that has the expertise to weigh the data and help our customers make an logical decisions.