The size of the North American revenue-earning freight railcar fleet increased by 1 percent in 2012, but has not recovered to pre-recession population levels, according to Railinc’s annual North American Freight Railcar Review.

The 2013 report gives a snapshot of the North American railcar fleet over the previous calendar year and includes statistics and overall trends from the Railinc Umler® system.

“Notably, there was an increase in North America’s three largest sub-fleets, including covered hopper cars, tank cars and gondola cars,” said David Humphrey, Railinc senior analyst. The other North American sub-fleets are hopper cars, flat cars, and box cars.

Among other findings, the review states that:

  • Of the sub-fleets that experienced growth in 2012, tanks increased the most, up 4 percent. Hoppers showed the biggest decline, down 3 percent;

  • The average age of the revenue-earning fleet decreased slightly in 2012, the first time in four years that the fleet got younger; and

  • The trend of cars with a gross rail load (GRL) of 286,000 lbs. predominating the new additions to the revenue-earning fleet continued in 2012.

These details and more, including full-color charts, can be found in the 2013 North American Freight Railcar Review. The review is available for free download here. All data included in the report were compiled from the Railinc Umler® system and represent the period from Jan. 1, 2012, through Dec. 31, 2012.