Automakers frustrated by expensive delays in transporting vehicles to dealerships are about to learn whether railroads give preferential treatment to other shippers.
The federal government has ordered the nation's rail carriers to report weekly data about their shipping schedules beginning Wednesday.
The data are expected to show whether rail cars loaded with autos are sitting idle while rail cars loaded with oil, coal or other profitable commodities are moving toward their destinations.
On Oct. 8, the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, which regulates the nation's railroads, ordered the reports after complaints from shippers -- including automakers -- that their goods were being unduly delayed.
The reports will detail the amounts of cargo moved in different types of rail cars, as well as information on delays in departure and delivery, sorted by train type and industry, among other things. The reports will be available on the board's website, stb.dot.gov.