Thursday, April 14, 2011


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor----------------------
Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

United States International Trade Commission (USITC)

Office of Industries, Pulbication ITS-08

Industry & Trade Summary


Rolling Stock: Locomotives and Rail Cars [March 2011]

[full-text, 128 pages]


Key Points

This report addresses trade and industry conditions for railway rolling stock primarily for

the period 2004 through 2009, and includes data for 2010 where available.


• The railway rolling stock industry consists principally of manufacturers producing

locomotives, rail cars, electric multiple units, parts for these vehicles, and multimodal

shipping containers.


• There are seven principal locomotive manufacturers and five major rail car (“car”)

manufacturers in the United States. While the locomotive manufacturers focus on

market niches, car manufacturers typically supply a range of cars.


• During 2004–09, the primary market for locomotives was freight railroads, while the

primary markets for cars were individual rail car lessors, shipping companies that

moved their goods by rail, and freight railroads. The primary market for parts were

original equipment manufacturers and enterprises that routinely rebuild railway

rolling stock.


• U.S. railroads moved 1.7 billion tons of freight over 169,082 miles of track in the

United States during 2009.


• U.S. demand to move freight by rail increased during 2004–08, driving up the

demand for railway rolling stock. In particular, freight from Asia landing on the U.S.

West Coast grew significantly, spurring the demand for both road and rail



• The U.S. locomotive fleet grew during the period, from 20,774 to 24,443 dieselelectric

locomotives in service in 2009, while the freight car fleet remained relatively

static at 1.4 million cars in service. In 2009, shipments of U.S. railway rolling stock

totaled $11.0 billion, with $8.9 billion (80.9 percent) sold to the domestic market.

During this period, imports as a share of U.S. consumption declined, from

19.1 percent to 12.4 percent. The top three nations supplying U.S. imports were

Canada, China, and Japan in 2009, while the top three markets for U.S. exports of all

railway rolling stock products were Canada, China, and Australia.


• The United States has had a trade surplus in railway rolling stock since 2004. The

surplus peaked at $1.1 billion in 2008, an increase of $764 million (207.6 percent)

over 2004, fell to $888 million in 2009, and then improved to $1 billion in 2010.


• U.S. producers of railway rolling stock compete in foreign markets principally on the

basis of technology. Asian and eastern European companies are increasingly

interested in partnering with certain U.S. manufacturers. U.S. firms face competitive

obstacles in countries with state-run manufacturers.


• During 2004–08, global exports of diesel-electric locomotives more than doubled,

before falling to pre-2001 levels in 2009. Principal exporting nations were the United

States ($403.8 million), Canada ($182.1 million), Spain ($133.4 million), Ukraine

($51.1 million), and China ($42.4 million).1 Of this group, only Spain’s exports grew

in 2008–09.


• The United States was in the top five nations exporting rail cars during 2004–07. In

2008, China, not a historically major supplier of rail cars, surged past the United

States into the ranks of the top five exporting countries, as its rail car exports grew by

196.5 percent (or by $176.8 million) over 2007. China maintained its lead over the

United States in rail car exports in 2009.


• Current trends in the U.S. railway rolling stock industry include research into kinetic

energy regeneration as well as development of freight cars capable of carrying larger

loads and diesel-electric locomotives that produce fewer air pollutants.



This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       



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