RMI and Industrial Networks (INet) announced the successful implementation of hand-held AEI readers at Farmrail System, Inc., one of their short line railroad customers located in rural Oklahoma. Using the RAILTRAC’ Mobile’ portable AEI solution provided by INet and integrated with RMI’s RailConnect Transportation Management System (TMS), Farmrail crews are now able to capture railcar movement events in the field and report these events in near real-time.

Headquartered in Clinton, Oklahoma, Farmrail provides scheduled and as-needed freight service over 347 main-line miles to 29 communities and 50 shippers in 12 rural Oklahoma counties. The territory includes some of the nation’s prime production land for hard red winter wheat, its highest-quality gypsum deposits, and one of its largest energy reserves, the Anadarko Basin. The principal commodities handled by Farmrail are wheat, crude and processed gypsum, feed ingredients, crushed stone, oilfield drilling fluids, fertilizers, and agricultural machinery.

‘The railroad industry has set new standards for the timeliness in reporting car movement events to a level where most critical events now need to be reported within six hours,’ explains Judy Petry, controller for Farmrail and chairperson for the ASLRRA’s SLIT Committee, which has been working to improve event reporting. ‘Using RMI’s RailConnect TMS we have always reported car movement events to the industry within minutes of when they were entered in the system. However, because of delays in communicating completed work from the train crews to the clerks, the timeliness of event reporting was sometimes not as fast as we needed it to be. By equipping our crews with the INet RAILTRAC’ Mobile’ portable AEI solution and integrating this information with RMI’s TMS system, we have eliminated these delays.’

‘The Farmrail hand-held project is a great example of how technology can best be used to help short line and regional railroads gain operational efficiency and improve service to their customers,’ explains Paul Pascutti, vice president of marketing, RMI. ‘Railroads have been using fixed-location AEI readers for many years to automate the capture of railcar movement events. Hand-held readers now make this technology more affordable and flexible for short line railroads.’

‘We are excited about working with Farmrail to bring our RAILTRAC’ Mobile’ portable AEI solution to the short line railroad industry,’ says Jimmy Finster, president of INet. ‘We knew our RAILTRAC’ Mobile’ solution would work for the railroad industry due to our success with real-time event reporting to our industrial rail shippers over the last decade.’

Not only is Farmrail improving the timeliness of the event reporting using the INet readers, but it is also improving the efficiency of its overall operation. ‘It just doesn’t make sense to have clerical staff entering data after the fact,’ says Petry. ‘We had already implemented EDI billing with our shippers. The next logical step was to put the capture of event data into the hands of the people performing the work.’

Both RMI and INet will be exhibiting at the ASLRRA annual convention to be held in Baltimore April 22-24, 2007. INet will have hand-held units on hand to demo the RAILTRAC’ Mobile’ portable AEI solution. RMI will be demonstrating how the data fed from the portable AEI readers automatically updates their transportation system.