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Industry Data > Economic Data: URCS

URCS is the STB's railroad general purpose costing system that is used to estimate variable and total unit costs for Class I U.S. railroads. URCS only develops costs for U.S. Class I railroads. The STB does publish URCS east and west regional costs. Those costs are based on a compilation of Class I data. The URCS costs are updated annually.

URCS is divided into three phases or steps. Phase I is the collection of data and special studies (Variability Study, Switching Study; etc). Phase II is the calculating system average variable unit costs based on system data and cost relationships developed in Phase I. Phase II is updated annually. Phase III is the Movement Costing Program which is used to estimates the system average variable and total costs of a shipment.

URCS evolved from the Interstate Commerce Commission's (ICC) railroad general purpose costing method - Rail Form A (RFA). RFA was developed by the ICC in 1938. Congress called for revision to RFA in the 1970's. URCS was developed in the late 1970's and early 1980's and review by the Railroad Accounting Standards Board (RAPB). URCS was adopted by the ICC in 1989 in Ex Parte No. 431 as the ICC's general purpose costing system and the ICC termination Act of 1995 retained the provision that the market dominance determination be base on URCS costs. 10707(d)(1)(B)

URCS is used by the STB for a variety of statutory and non statutory functions. URCS is statutorily required for making the jurisdictional determination in railroad maximum rate reasonableness proceedings. URCS is also used to develop variable costs for making cost determinations in abandonment proceeding; to provide the railroad industry and shipper with a standardized costing model; costing the STB Car Load Waybill Sample to develop industry cost information; and to provide interested parties with basic cost information.

URCS questions should be directed to Mike Boyles at 202-245-0336 or e-mailed to

In the first step of the Surface Transportation Board’s ongoing efforts toward upgrading the Uniform Railroad Costing System (URCS), the Board has made available a new version of its URCS Phase III Railroad Cost Program.  This new version will make URCS easier to use.    

User feedback and analysis by the Board has resulted in technical improvements that will enhance the program’s functionality.  Refinements to the Railroad Cost Program include:

  The model process flow improves the overall stability of the program and allows users to switch between the railroad cost program and the batch cost program without having to exit the program.
  The batch cost program has a row of headers indicating the contents of each column as the first line of the batch cost program output; has improved error reporting of the batch control file; and has improved error reporting if a movement cannot be costed.
  The output report has corrected references to the URCS worktables; has page numbers; allows the user to export a comma separated value (CSV) version of the output report; and allows the user to select a printer for where to send the output report (including the option to print selected pages).


This new version of the URCS Phase III Railroad Cost Program includes an updated user manual reflecting the technical improvements.  The new version is available for download by the public free of charge.

As indicated in the May 27, 2010 Surface Transportation Board Report to Congress Regarding the Uniform Railroad Costing System, URCS is a high priority project for the Board. The Board continues to work on further improvements to ensure that the model calculates costs that are as accurate and reflective of the modern rail industry as possible.

The most recent URCS Phase III Railroad Cost Program, the URCS worktables, URCS substitutions and URCS update data are attached below.

URCS Phase III Railroad Cost Program
Railroad Cost Program User Manual
Installing the Railroad Cost Program
URCS Phase III Railroad Cost Program for Windows 7
Installing the Railroad Cost Program for Windows 7
URCS 2013 Worktables (6.6 MB)
URCS 2013 Substitutions (.1 MB)
URCS 2013 Update Data (.3 MB)

URCS Data for prior years.

URCS 2012 Worktables (6.6 MB)
URCS 2012 Substitutions (.1 MB)
URCS 2012 Update Data (.3 MB)
URCS 2011 Worktables (6.4 MB)
URCS 2011 Substitutions (.1 MB)
URCS 2011 Update Data (.4 MB)
URCS 2010 Worktables (6.6 MB)
URCS 2010 Substitutions (.1 MB)
URCS 2010 Update Data (.3 MB)
URCS 2009 Worktables (6.4 MB)
URCS 2009 Substitutions (.1 MB)
URCS 2009 Update Data (.3 MB)
URCS 2008 Worktables (6.6 MB)
URCS 2008 Substitutions (.1 MB)
URCs 2008 Update Data (.3 MB)
URCS 2007 Worktables (2.8 MB)
URCS 2007 Substitutions (.1 MB)
URCS 2007 Update Data (.3 MB)
URCS 2006 Worktables (2.8 MB)
URCS 2006 Substitutions (.1 MB)
URCS 2006 Update Data (.3 MB)