Data Stewardship and Access

The Railinc support staff stands ready to work with customers to clearly identify their data needs and provide them with the information they are seeking. As an independent provider of rail data, Railinc is committed to safeguarding data as it moves in and out of its products, systems and databases. The company's duties include developing policies and procedures that promote good stewardship of our customers' data to ensure privacy and confidentiality. In accordance with this role, the company applies strict standards for data access to ensure that no data is disclosed without proper review and consent, or that might be inconsistent with legal requirements. If you have any questions about obtaining certain types of rail data, please contact the Railinc Customer Support Center.

Railinc carefully reviews requests for access to Railinc's products, reports, and data-related services based on a requestor's relationship to the requested data. The following outlines some of the factors that are considered in Railinc's decision to share data:

  1. Direct relationship—Customers may request access to confidential information related to their own data. For example, a railroad involved in the route of a shipment ("party to the route") may request certain tracing data related to that shipment. Similarly, a shipper may request certain tracing data related to its shipment ("party to the waybill") wherever it may be.

  2. Agency—An agent may request confidential information about its client's shipment as long as it has obtained the client's explicit permission. This access may be granted pending the receipt of a letter of authorization (LOA) from the client organization.

  3. Other—Other non-direct or non-agency requests such as those from the media, independent researchers or other parties are handled on a case-by-case basis. These requests receive additional scrutiny including evaluating the requestor's relationship to the data and intended use of the data. Please note that requests in violation Railinc's confidentiality and stewardship standards will be denied.


Letters of Authorization
A Letter of Authorization (LOA) grants permission to an organization to receive another company's confidential data. This arrangement helps rail industry participants collaborate while protecting their data and meeting legal and industry regulatory requirements. Railinc's LOA process effectively ensures that access to data is restricted to the owner of the data or to the owner's expressly designated third party.

Railinc's LOA process requires grantors to:

  • Submit an LOA for grantees with an effective term of up to three years;

  • Submit a new LOA for grantees before an existing LOA expires to ensure uninterrupted data flow; and

  • Affirm the validity of LOAs each year.
     

If you have any questions about accessing data at Railinc, contact the Railinc Customer Support Center by email at csc@railinc.com or by phone at (877) 724-5462.