OT-5, Railinc, and UMLER

Recently we received a lot of questions from our customer base in a short period of time regarding what an OT-5 is and how to get one. It turned out that the CSX railroad had begun charging shippers a fee of $600 per movement for a privately marked car without an OT-5. Recently, the Norfolk Southern joined in and currently charges $450 per shipment. So it appears to be a trend.

So now that we know the penalty for not having an OT-5 what is it anyway and what is UMLER and who is Railinc?

An OT-5 is how railroads account for privately held equipment (Cars with an X at the end of the mark – EAMX for example). This is an application that is filed at the Railinc site. Railinc also has a nice write up about the FAQs for an OT-5. Click Here.

Railinc is in essence the gatekeeper for UMLER and UMLER is the database for which almost all railcar information is kept. This includes everything from car age and spec to maintenance data to miles ran. Its facebook for railcars without a delete.

The next question we receive is can we (as the Lessor) enter an OT-5 on our customers behalf. The short answer is yes. While all leases put the onus of the OT-5 on the customer we at Everest Railcar Service felt it was worth our time to file OT-5s for customers who either didn’t have a Railinc account or properly understand the process.

So the sales pitch in this post is if you have a lessor that will not provide that service for you it’s time to find a new railcar provider, again preferably Everest Railcar. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any railcar needs or questions.