According to today's USDA Grain Transportation Report, Railinc, a subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads, recently released two free, downloadable industry reports on the demographics of the North American railcar and locomotive fleets.

Two main models of covered hoppers are used to ship grain—C-113 and the larger model, C-114. According to the North American Freight Railcar Review 2023, at the end of 2022, the North American revenue-earning fleet contained 90,000 C-113 railcars and 170,000 C-114 railcars.

In 2022, the total grain railcar fleet was 1.2% larger than in 2021, but 3 percent smaller than the peak in 2018 (267,000 cars).

According to Railinc’s North American Locomotive Review 2023, at the end of 2022, the North American fleet had 37,704 locomotives—down 284 from the previous year and down 1,817 from the peak in 2017.

Since 2017, the fleet’s locomotives have declined in number by an average of 1 percent per year, and their average age has risen.

However, the newly added models tend to be more powerful and better at hauling heavy loads than older models.