Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can use RPCNB services? Any RPCA member in good standing for the membership/subscription year. The RPCA and RPCNB are different companies, staff for both companies are in different locations! We cannot just lean over the cubical and talk!
If you wish to join RPCA and use RPCNB services, please go to http://www.rpca.com/join_rpca.htm. This can add about 1-2 weeks to the process as your membership will need to be verified. This can be done by the membership committee confirming your membership or by submitting a copy of your membership certificate. The person/company subscribing to the RPCNB services must be the car owner and an RPCA member with the same person/company name!


Subscription? The RPCNB services are a Subscription service for RPCA Members only, meaning it lasts only for the RPCA Membership year it was initiated in. Just like RPCA Membership, the RPCNB Umler services must be renewed annually at the beginning of the RPCA Membership year, July 1.

Why are Insurance Certificates required? If a problem occurs and someone decides to sue, RPCNB will be named first because the reporting mark your car is running under is presumed by AAR rules to be the owner. So to help protect all of us, the RPCNB BOD decided that if you are running under the Mark assigned to us, you will be insured and we will be listed as an "additional insured"!

How to prevent trouble when requesting moves on Class 1 Railroads:
AAR Standard 4045 was implemented by the Rail Industry after approval by the FRA for excursion type passenger cars in 2013. Therefore S-4045 is the standard to which RPCNB cars must comply that are not Amtrak Certified PV’s The Amtrak Certified PV’s must comply with all Amtrak requirements.
The following we recommend as a check list before movement:
Full data in Umler,
AEI tags properly mounted and working,
Car insured with RPCNB as additional insured,
Air brake COT&S test performed by a certified technician,
Air date uploaded to Umler and stenciled on car,
Bearing lube maintained by qualified personnel (for CSX rotating end cap bearings required - non-rotating end cap bearings of either oil or grease lube not acceptable),
Air hoses in date,
Reporting mark and number legibly stenciled on car,
Structural integrity of the car and safety appliances intact,
Coupling and draft systems can pass inspection,
Brake shoes/pads have more than sufficient material to make the trip,
Curved plate hub stamped wheels strongly recommended,
Wheel tread and flanges have "sufficient meat" to make the trip,
Full documentation of air work on the car for inspection.

Sufficient lead time in move request to allow inspection by originating Railroad and correction of any deficiencies they find.


What is Umler? U. M. L. E. R. once stood for Universal Machine Language Equipment Register. It is no longer the acronym, it is the name of the north american rolling stock data base. This is a computer program, created by the Association of American Railroads and administered by a company called Railinc, that maintains a database of information on essentially all rail cars and locomotives moving on the General Railway System in North America. If your car/loco is in Umler, railroads anywhere can access the database and find out more about it, including dimensions, weight, brake tests, couplers, handling restrictions, etc. The new Umler system went live in 2006. Legacy Umler was shut down at the same time.

What are reporting marks?
Reporting marks are the letters preceding a car's numbers that are stenciled on the side of each rail car and they denote ownership of the car. They consist of two, three or four letters. In order to be legitimate, reporting marks must be assigned by Railinc / AAR. This requires an application process and fees, and signing the AAR Interchange Agreement. Private car owners that are not railroads have reporting marks ending in the letter "X”. An AAR reporting mark is not the FRA Identifier supplied by the FRA for reporting your locomotive maintenance if you do not have a reporting mark.

If you do not have a reporting mark, What Now?
If you do not have a reporting mark and need to move equipment, there are a couple of options. Apply for your own reporting mark (approximately $500 at this writing plus yearly fees). Join RPCA and use the member benefit. There may be other options available, contact us to discuss your situation.

Why do cars and locos need to be registered? The AAR Field Manual, Rule 90 Section A Paragraph 2 clearly prohibits cars in interchange that are not properly registered in the Umler file, as required by the AAR Specification Manual. Rolling stock, when registered in Umler, help provide data on car(s)/loco(s) handling restrictions, tracking characteristics, ownership and history. The Class 1 Railroads (BNSF, CN, CP, CSX, KCS, NS and UP) have mandated that all rolling stock offered for movement on the Class 1 portion of the General Railway System of North America must be in Umler. This includes all cars and all locomotives of any type or configuration moving on their own wheels. Illegitimate reporting marks could duplicate legitimate marks, causing cars to become misrouted or lost, or otherwise mishandled, and can get you involved with the US Government in a not nice manner.

What is a Car Repair Billing, CRB, and how does it affect you?
It is a method which the railroads use to make running repairs on equipment on their railroad. By RPCNB signing the AAR agreement, we and YOU, via the contract you signed with RPCNB, agree to pay for these repairs in a timely fashion. Occasionally there may be a “wrong” repair, this must be identified quickly and documentation provided to us to object to the repair. Usually we have 30 days to pay these bills less 7 days for US mail to get it to them. If you object to a repair, you must notify RPCNB immediately after receiving said invoice. Otherwise, you will be liable for said CRB, and non-payment of a CRB is cause to remove your car(s) from Umler.

What is an AEI tag? An AEI tag is a small plastic box containing electronic equipment. It is mounted in a specific location, one on each side of every car/loco. When the car/loco passes a special scanner, the tag broadcasts the car's identity and orientation to the scanner. This has become the principal means of reporting car/loco locations and movement on the General Railway System of North America.

How do I get these tags?
New and used tags are available from the railroads themselves and from a variety of other companies. Secondhand tags, including programming, are available for about $50/set.

Where do I mount them?
Location of the tag is very specific, and is defined in AAR Standard S-918 is available on the web site on the FORMS page. This describes where to locate the tags on a car.

Can I have an AEI tag without registering in Umler? Not on a class 1 railroad. All Class One railroads require COMPLETE Umler entries as per the AAR Field Manual to move any rolling stock. Many regional and short line railroads do also. You may be able obtain the tag, have it programmed with real or imaginary reporting marks, and mount it on your car. This will give you the benefit of making the car "trackable" by AEI scanners, and may still be acceptable by some railroads. However, the reporting mark and car number the tag responds with will be checked by the computers against Umler, and will be found to not be there, or incorrect. This can cause problems with car movements until resolved. It is much easier to get caught with illegitimate marks this way.

What about the reverse?
Not on a class 1 railroad. You can have a car registered in Umler and not have AEI tags applied. Some owners and operators have been doing this for some time. This allows a car to move if the carrier requires only Umler registration, but it does not enhance the tracking ability because the car is not automatically reporting its location without tags. All Class One railroads now require BOTH tags and Umler registration, and if the car or loco doesn't have tags, the RR will apply them for you and invoice you the standard cost via a CRB (car repair billing). This costs a little more than $150, and that also means they may mount them in a way you might not like.

How long does registration take?
You need to plan on giving our staff two to three weeks to get your car or loco properly registered. This will allow for you to pre-pay your fees, get your insurance with RPCNB as a “certificate holder or additional insured” and to get your car data to us. Any fatal errors will prevent the rolling stock from being loaded to the system, therefore we don’t even start the process of uploading if the data isn’t complete and correct. Please provide full information to help this process go as smoothly as possible. The data marked as mandatory on the data sheet and instructions are so marked for a reason. If this data is not provided, it will be a fatal upload error. Therefore it is useless to try to upload without that data. Also, any data on your contract that conflicts with membership data will delay your entry until solved.

What if I buy a car that was previously registered in
Umler? The AAR requires documentation that the reporting mark change is legal for any inter-entity (company or person selling to another company or person) change of ownership. To comply with this, there are two ways of doing it. The first way is to send a missive to Railinc showing the old reporting mark and number and the new reporting mark and number with bill of sale or authorization of the seller. The second way is for the seller to allow for a re-stencil to the new reporting mark by granting a permission in Umler. The new reporting mark accepts the permission and the equipment moves from one reporting mark to another by using the re-stencil process. Either way, the seller will need to provide to the buyer a signed authorization stating that the reporting mark change is authorized, which is sent to either Railinc in the first example, or RPCNB in the second. That way, if RPCNB is audited, we have the record on file. If this is not available, you need at the very least to send us a copy of the bill of sale. If you are only changing the mark and not ownership, i.e. an intra-company transfer, or moving a car/loco from one assigned reporting mark to another assigned reporting mark within the same entity, you need to provide a letter of authorization (see example below). Don't forget that the AEI tags will require reprogramming or must be replaced!



A NOTE ON CAR DATA:

As things change with the implementation of PTC, changes will be shown on the News page. Check it frequently and respond to emails from us requesting data to comply with things that are added or become mandatory fields.

Most of the car and loco data is available on typical AAR approved designs, including in Umler itself. The seller should have data available. If not, we may be able to capture or perform a re-stencil from Umler if the seller has not already deleted it, or we can identify a "sister" (identical) car or loco still active in Umler.
Locos, MoW equipment and passenger cars can be problematic at times. There is much more information required for locos, MoW equipment quite often gets modified, and passenger cars can be very unique. In 'new Umler', passenger cars have their own Equipment Type Code and are no longer uploaded under MoW.
We may have information on your specific rolling stock in our extensive library, but that cannot be counted on. There are very many unique cars and locos out there for which there is little published information, and rebuilds by various owners over the years may have changed it significantly from what was published if we do have anything on it. Due to the amount of time this takes, we will charge you by the hour to research your equipment!
If you are measuring the rolling stock yourself, you will NOT do this correctly with a 3 foot yard stick and a 3 step kitchen stool! If in doubt, GET HELP! There are many contractors and consultants out there that can help as well as GLR. It is worth paying a fee to get the proper data on your equipment.