Union Pacific Private Car Registration - Frequently Asked Questions

UP Private Car Registration Policy

What are UP's policies for registering cars?

Union Pacific Private Car Registration Policies for registering privately owned cars follow the Association of American Railroads Circular OT-5-K and UP business requirements. Read our Private Car Registration Policies for more information.

Timeline for Approval

How long will it take from the date I submit the application to receive approval?

UP's objective is to have the application completed within seven business days of receiving the application. If you have not received notification and you have questions please check the status of an application by sending an e-mail or call 402-544-9324.

Safety Requirements

What defines UP Safety Requirements? Are they the same as Mechanical Requirements?

The Safety Requirements are based on the UP Derailment Prevention Plan. This refers to any feature or mechanical appliance on a loaded or unloaded rail car which can potentially cause damage. Common Mechanical issues are addressed in the Mechanical Issues section of this section.

Adequate Storage

What does "adequate storage" mean to UP?

UP defines adequate storage as sufficient space to store your fleet off of UP rail lines. By selecting the adequate storage box in on the OT-5 application, you are acknowledging that you do have adequate storage for the cars listed in the application. When necessary, UP reserves the right to request that the customer send cars to storage.

What is UP' policy on adequate storage after cars are OT-5 approved and I no longer have sufficient storage?

  1. UP reserves the right to request that the car owner send the equipment to storage. If sufficient storage space is not available or a car owner does not act in a reasonable time to move car(s) to storage, UP may be forced to send cars to storage. All applicable charges will be forwarded to the car controller.
  2. Each car held will be subject to Private Empty Car Storage (PECS).

What if I don't have adequate storage and I have an agreement with UP to store or hold a specific number of cars on UP owned tracks and yards?

If you have an agreement with UP, please reference the agreement in the OT-5 application Comments section.

Mechanical Issues

What do you mean by Mechanical Issues?

Any physical characteristic on a rail car that may require maintenance or upgrades in order to meet the Association of American Railroad's service guidelines as well as the UP Derailment Prevention Plan.


I received a message regarding S-259, what does it mean?

Association of American Railroads Specification S-259 is a specification for cars with increased loading for up to 286,000 LB Gross Rail Loading (GRL). Cars that are identified as NOT meeting AAR Standard S-259 have been identified using information from the UMLER/EMIS system.  AAR Field Manual Rule 70 states that acceptance of equipment in interchange which does not meet S-259 is not mandatory.  Read more in the Private & Foreign Marked Car Policies

Constant Contact Side Bearings

What are Constant Contact Side Bearings?

A Constant Contact Side Bearing is a compression spring device that mounts to the trucks of a rail car that is always in contact with the car body. The device provides better handling characteristics by improved tracking and curving through use of various combinations of features. UP policy requires that constant contact side bearings (preferably long travel) be applied to cars that are greater than 268,000 LB Gross Rail Loading, approved per AAR Specification S-259. The current AAR Specification S-286 for new car construction of cars built to 286,000 LB Gross Rail Loading requires the application of contact side bearings. Read more in the Private & Foreign Marked Car Policies

Will UP stop cars already running if they are not equipped with Constant Contact Side Bearings?

No, UP understands that there is a cost involved in the upgrades and is approving movement of cars as long as the car owners have communicated (via application, marketing and sales, mechanical, car management) that upgrades are in progress.

Early Warnings and Maintenance Advisories

I received a message regarding AAR Early Warnings (EW - ###).  What does it mean?

An Early Warning is an AAR issued bulletin which identifies specific mechanical feature(s) on a car(s) which immediately require or will soon need correction. The early warning will be identified by the EW and followed by four numbers. All AAR subscribers have this information readily available to them. A query is also available via the Railinc System (Early Warning Query). This query should be used prior to registering the OT-5.  Visit www.railinc.com for more information. If you receive this message the OT-5 application comments section, UP has identified at least one car that needs to be reviewed by the car controller (Car Owner or Responsible Party).

I received a message regarding AAR Maintenance Advisories (MA - ###). What does it mean?

The Maintenance Advisory is a bulletin issued by the AAR similar to the Early Warning. This type of bulletin can supplement an Early Warning message. All AAR subscribers have this information readily available to them. A query is also available via the Railinc System (Early Warning Query). This query should be used prior to registering the OT-5. If UP has noted this in the OT-5 application comments section, UP has identified at least one car that needs to be reviewed by the car controller (Car Owner or Responsible Party). Cars will only be released from the advisory upon the advice of the owner that car(s) have been inspected and found to be in compliance with all AAR and Federal requirements.

Overdue Air Brake Test (ABT)

I received a comment regarding Overdue Air Brake Test (ABT). What do I need to do?

AAR Early Warning 5171 signifies that a car is overdue for a required air brake test (ABT). Rules regarding the timing of required ABT intervals can be found in AAR Field Manual Rule 3. If you have received a message about cars in the application overdue for ABT, UP has identified cars in the application in which the warning applies. Any car that is already on the UP system or received in interchange will automatically go into a bad order status for an overdue ABT, so it is critical that overdue ABT cars be addressed as soon as possible to avoid delays in transportation. All AAR subscribers have access to the EW-5171 information via the Railinc System (Early Warning Query). This query should be used prior to registering the OT.

Over Age

Why was my application rejected due to over age car(s)?

UP does not accept over age cars at interchange. Please, verify information is correct in UMLER/EMIS (see UMLER/EMIS FAQ for definition). If information is current and car does have an extended service upgrade, please resubmit the SAME application. If the car is in fact over age please remove the car(s) from the application and resubmit the SAME application. Please review the UP Over Age Car Policy.  

Universal Machine Language Equipment Register (UMLER) & Equipment Management Information System (EMIS)

Where can I access and update my car characteristics and maintenance information?

You can find the UMLER and EMIS tools at www.Railinc.com. UMLER provides the equipment characteristic maintenance services while EMIS provides pool and inspections services.

What if I don't update my car records?

A: An application submitted without updated car information is subject to the Association of American Railroads car maintenance guidelines as well as UP requirements. Cars not fulfilling these requirements may be rejected. Verify your cars prior to submitting an application and submit comments for any special situations.


What is Centralized Station Master (CSM)?

Centralized Station Master is a geographic location file which contains data about rail and motor carrier points for North America.

Freight Station Accounting Code (FSAC) and Station Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) Customer Identification File (CIF)

I cannot find the FSAC, SCAC, or CIF for my UP loading location?

Verify that the location has been updated via Centralized Station Master using the correct format available via Railinc then contact your UP Marketing and Sales Representative to complete the process.

Other suggestions:

  • An acquisition of new business location may not have been updated. Try using the old company name in search.
  • It may also be that the industry has multiple FSAC numbers assigned to that one geographic location separated by departments. Verify geographic location and department.

If this is unsuccessful please refer to the Centralized Station Master (CSM) requirements outlined in Form AD 101.  All updates and expirations need to be addressed via Data Analyst, Railinc Business Services Division at 919-651-5077.

UP as the Originating Carrier

I am served by a shortline railroad or switch, do I need to register?

You must register if the industry is located on a non-participating Short Line and does connect directly to a Class I and/or Class II railroad for haulage.

Which road do I designate as the Originating Carrier?

Register the short line as the Serving Carrier and UP (Class I/II railroad) as the Originating Carrier.


What Standard Transportation Commodity Code (STCC) do I use for Ethanol products?

UP prefers use of the non-hazardous ethanol codes beginning with 28. Product look-up

Common Misconceptions

If I don't register my cars, I will be fined?

UP currently does not have any accessorial charges defined.

If I don't register my cars, will they be rejected at interchange?

UP and all subscribers must comply with AAR interchange rules. If you have not registered your cars please do so prior to lease agreement, loading, or movement on any Class I or II railroad including participating short line roads. All car controllers are subject to interchange restrictions until OT-5 approval has been granted.

Why was my application and all cars rejected because of one car?

Currently, the Railinc System does not support an individual car rejection process. If one car is rejected the whole application is rejected. Please correct and/or update information and resubmit the same application.

Conditional Approval

I received a message from UP stating that a "Conditional Approval" has been granted. What does this mean?

UP has identified cars with exceptions to AAR or UP mechanical maintenance requirements and is providing a reasonable timeframe in which you can address these issues.