Type Size A A A

Railcar Maintenance

Who is responsible for the condition of a railcar when it is tendered to a railroad for movement?

GATX contracts specify that customers are responsible for visually inspecting the railcars they use. U.S. Department of Transportation regulations make shippers responsible for ensuring the railcars they use are safe to load and suitable for the material being shipped.


What is the process for sending a railcar to the shop?

Contact your GATX account solutions representative to discuss service needs or to arrange for an ongoing maintenance plan. Be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Detailed description of needed repairs
  • Location of the railcar including city, state and operating railroad
  • Whether the car is clean

           - If the railcar is not clean and needed repairs require cleaning,
             whether GATX has approval to proceed with a base clean

  • Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the commodity last loaded in each railcar

  • Where the railcar should be sent after repairs are completed

Once a shop has been selected by your GATX account solutions, please issue billing to the railroad to move your railcar to that location for repairs. The status of your railcar can be checked throughout the process by calling your account solutions representative or using your password-protected customer login.


What repairs are considered my company’s responsibility?

Specific responsibilities are defined in the Master Contract and applicable riders. While not definitive, click here for additional guidance regarding conditions generally considered to be your company’s responsibility.


How is damage handled when it occurs on private premises or tracks not belonging to a railroad or GATX?

Under the contract, customers are responsible for damage occurring on private premises. Generally, these incidents involve damage that occurs on the premises of your company or a consignee, including damage incurred as a result of switching by a third-party switching service. In these cases, GATX requires your company to send a letter of damage acknowledgment to GATX prior to receiving instructions for repair disposition.


What is the car cleaning contract?

Under the GATX standard Master Contract, your company is responsible for returning a railcar in clean condition for repair when the lease term expires. However, GATX has cleaning systems at most of our service centers. The cleaning services are provided under the terms and conditions of a separate railcar cleaning contract that can be provided to your company in tandem with the Master Contract.


When will my company be charged for exterior painting?

GATX pays for painting a car when the exterior paint no longer provides adequate metal protection due to normal wear and tear. Customers are responsible when a commodity spillage or similar event damages the paint, or accelerates the need for repainting the centerband or, in some cases, the entire railcar.


When must graffiti be removed?

Graffiti must be removed whenever it is offensive or covers existing stenciling and, if necessary, the stenciled information must be restored. It also must be removed at the end of the lease, either by the customer or by GATX at the customer’s expense. Graffiti also may be removed at your request at any time during the lease.


Who is responsible for removing graffiti?

Since GATX is the lessor of the equipment, and does not maintain operational control of the railcars during the term of the contract, graffiti removal is a customer responsibility.




Click here for a map of our maintenance and service locations.