Rail Industry Guidelines

Rail Industry Guidelines for EDI: Introduction and Overview

Rail Industry Guidelines: General Information

The Rail Industry uses the ASC X12 Standards to govern the interchange of purchasing-related business data between each railroad and its suppliers. The Rail Industry Guidelines are a fully compliant subset of the ASC X12 Standards and facilitate the use of EDI by explaining and interpreting the ASC X12 Standards as they relate to the purchasing environment of the rail industry. While it is intended that each guideline be complete as it relates to a transaction within the rail industry, it does not reveal the complete scope of the ASC X12 Standards.The guidelines should be considered a supplement, not a replacement for the ASC X12 standards. Therefore, it is recommended that the following documentation be carefully reviewed in addition to the documentation on each specific business function:

  • ASC X12.3
    ASC X12.22
    ASC X12.5
    ASC X12.6
    Data Element Dictionary
    Data Segment Dictionary
    Interchange Control Structure
    Application Control Structure

Guideline Design

The guideline has been derived from the documentation provided by ASC X12, and agrees with X12’s four-level presentation: transaction set, segments, elements, and code values. A transaction encoded per the guideline will be acceptable and sufficient for the needs of all roads, although not every segment will be used by each road. The documentation for each business application consists of three areas:

  1. User Guide The user guide defines the format and content of the ASC X12 transaction set as adopted by the rail industry and explains special uses or notes.
  2. Transaction Set Segment Specification The segment specification is a direct representation of the ASC X12 transaction set with the exception that only the segments used by the guideline are displayed. Unless specifically restricted by notations within the guideline, a trading partner is free to send information in the segments not used and use code values not shown. However, the information excluded by the guideline is not considered essential by any participating railroad, and may not be interrogated. Conversely, each segment contained in the guideline is deemed essential by at least one road.
    • 850 Purchase Order¬†Example [71K PDF] Select the item above to view an example of the transaction set specification for the rail industry’s 850 purchase order.
  3. Data Segments and Data Elements Certain elements have been struck from the segments, and only a subset of code values is shown for certain elements. Unless specifically restricted by notations within the guideline, a trading partner is free to send information in the stricken elements and use code values not shown. However, the information excluded by the guideline is not considered essential by any participating railroad, and may not be interrogated. Conversely, each element and code value that make up the segment is deemed essential by at least one road.
    • BEG Data Segment¬†Example [10K PDF] Select the item above to view an example of the BEG data segment for the rail industry’s 850 purchase order.

    The length, type and description of the data element are taken directly from the Data Element Dictionary (ASC X12.3). However, the list of permissible values which follows each element is a subset of the possible values for that element.

  4. Rail Industry Notes The Committee has attempted to further clarify the meaning of data segments, data elements or data element definitions with italicized notes.