Railinc Corporation

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Railinc Corporation
Industry Software as a service
Rail Data as a service
Founded Incorporated 1999
Headquarters Cary, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Area served
North America
Key people
E. Allen West President and CEO (since 2006)
Products Umler System, DDCT System, Embargoes System, RailSight Track & Trace, Interline Settlement System, EHMS, Car Hire
Parent Association of American Railroads
Website http://www.railinc.com

Railinc Corporation (pronounced "rail-link") provides rail data, IT and information technology services to the North American freight railway industry. Railinc is a for-profit subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads.[1]

Corporate structure[edit]

Railinc was established as an information technology department within the Association of American Railroads AAR, and later spun off as a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of the AAR in 1998.[2]

Railinc headquarters is located in Cary, North Carolina. Railinc's headquarters was relocated from joint operations in Chicago and Washington, D.C., in 1999 following a location search. Locations included in the search were Cary, N.C., Denver, Colo., Tampa, Fla., and Austin, Texas. Cary was selected because of the strong business climate and access to the universities.[3]

Railinc employs a wide range of business and IT professionals from product managers and business analysts to software engineers to business and application architects and system administrators. Approximately ten percent of Railinc employees are certified project managers.[4]

Products and services[edit]

Railinc processes and delivers vital rail data as a service (DaaS) and provides software as a service (SaaS) to the freight rail industry. Because many of the company's IT systems are required by formal railroad operating rules, the company’s applications and services can be found embedded in critical operations and financial systems throughout the industry. One such system is the Umler system. The Railinc Umler(R) system[5] is the rail industry's official, mission-critical source for rail equipment information, including freight cars of all varieties, locomotives and end of train devices. A 2009 redesign of this system replaced the 40-year-old legacy U.M.L.E.R. database.[6] The name was an acronym for Universal Machine Language Equipment Register,[7] but the acronym was dropped in 2009 with the launch of the new Umler system[8] in favor of the lower case spelling and trademarked name. Umler is a registered trademark.[9]

Railinc also provides tracking and tracing data, known as car location messages (CLMs). The RailSight engine delivers car location messages to rail equipment owners, shippers, and third-party logistics providers.[10] The data is used for fleet management and to track and trace the movement of freight and freight cars throughout North America to ensure goods are delivered on-time or to track the progress of their movement. The RailSight engine delivers more than 7.5 million rail events each day from more than 530 Class I, Class II and Class III railroads and shops across the United States, Canada and Mexico.[citation needed]

Other Railinc systems include the Damaged and Defective Car Tracking (DDCT) System that is used for identifying and tracking damaged and defective rail cars to ensure their proper handling on the railways. This system, launched in 2011, made the 125-year-old paper defect card obsolete. The primary purpose of the defect card was to aid in maintaining a record of identified defects on each car; of where the defects originated; and to determine the responsibility for such defects.[11]

Railinc also provides the Equipment Health Management System (EHMS) that monitors equipment to identify possible mechanical problems; Interline Settlement System that settles funds monthly between railroads; Forward & Store is a secure system for exchanging interline waybill information; Railinc Message Switch delivers more than nine million messages each day over its electronic data interchange (EDI) network, including transportation waybills, advance train consists, blocking requests and responses and trip plans; Railinc tracking and tracing services help customers identify cars and their shipments in the rail network. Railinc also maintains the only industry-accepted version of the North American railroad industry's official code tables, also known as industry reference files (IRFs), which includes the active reporting marks for the North American rail industry. Industry Reference Files (IRFs) are the spell checkers, data dictionaries and thesaurus for all intra and inter-industry communication and are used to assure consistency in data interpretation. Railinc offers a free online look-up of reporting marks and other industry reference files through its Freight Rail 411 website, as well as FindUs.Rail, the rail industry's online contact database. The company also operates Steelroads, which allows shippers to trace the movement of their rail freight shipments.

The company is part of the Surface Transportation Board information sharing and analysis center (ST-ISAC).[12]


Railinc has been recognized locally and by industry trade groups for excellence including the following awards:

  • 2013 - Supply & Demand Chain Executive Provider Pro to Know [13]
  • 2013 - Healthiest Employers in the Triangle[14]
  • 2012 - Inbound Logistics Top 100 Logistics IT Companies [15]
  • 2012 - Supply & Demand Chain Executive Provider Pro to Know [16]
  • 2011 - Best Places to Work in the Triangle[17]
  • 2011 - Inbound Logistics Top 100 Logistics IT Companies [18]
  • 2011 - "40 Under 40" Executive Leadership Award [19]
  • 2010 - 2013 Top Software Developers (Triangle Business Journal Book of Lists)
  • 2010 - CFO of the Year, Medium Size Business [20]
  • 2009 - NCTA 21 Award[21] for Industry-Driven Technology Company by the North Carolina Technology Association [22]


  1. ^ AAR Corporate Website
  2. ^ The News & Observer, September 15, 2012.
  3. ^ Triangle Business Journal, May 19, 2003.
  4. ^ Carolina Newswire, February 6, 2009.
  5. ^ Stagl, Jeff. Progressive Railroading, July 10, 2009.
  6. ^ Triangle Business Journal, July 27, 2009.
  7. ^ IRS Website, accessed August 24, 2009
  8. ^ Baysden, Chris, Triangle Business Journal, July 24, 2009.
  9. ^ [1] U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  10. ^ Progressive Railroading, April 21, 2005.
  11. ^ Railway Age, January 25, 2011.
  12. ^ Radvanovsky, Robert, Critical Infrastructure: Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Taylor & Francis Group; CRC Press, 2006.
  13. ^ "Supply & Demand Chain Executive", March 14, 2013.
  14. ^ "Triangle Business Journal", December 13, 2013.
  15. ^ "Inbound Logistics", April 1, 2012.
  16. ^ "Supply & Demand Chain Executive", February 12, 2012.
  17. ^ "Triangle Business Journal", August 30, 2011.
  18. ^ "Inbound Logistics", April 1, 2011.
  19. ^ "Triangle Business Journal", May 20, 2011.
  20. ^ "Triangle Business Journal", July 19, 2010.
  21. ^ "Journal of Commerce", November 7, 2009.
  22. ^ "Triangle Business Journal", November 13, 2009.

External links[edit]