North American owners of railcars parked 707 more of them in July, as many categories of freight rail traffic slowed from June levels for most of the month and as flooding continued to hamper Midwest train moves.
When traffic is good, the fleet leasing firms, shippers and railroads that own parked railcars take more out of storage to get them ready to haul cargoes.
After a late-spring downturn in freight shipments, car owners parked 2,855 more units in May, but a June traffic resurgence led them to draw 2,847 out of storage that month.
Although bulk carload volume in July remained below springtime peaks and recent highs in June, intermodal surged in the final week of last month to set a new high for the year. If that keeps up and carloads strengthen, August could see car owners draw down the stored fleet.
The Association of American Railroads said 276,943 railcars of various types had been idle for at least 60 days as of Aug. 1, for 18.2 percent of the total available fleet across the continent.
The trade group estimates that since the stored fleet peaked in July 2009 at more than 527,000 units, car owners have reactivated 126,135 and scrapped or otherwise removed from service 110,510. In that time they have also brought nearly 40,000 new railcars on line.
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