Equipment Health Management System, or EHMS, is an important resource for anyone who owns or is responsible for maintaining cars. When analyzed, EHMS data can help limit unscheduled maintenance, reduce repair costs and more.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is EHMS?

EHMS is the railroad industry’s central resource for communicating mechanical problems identified by wayside detectors. Wayside detectors are machines along the rails that measure certain aspects of cars as they pass.

How Does EHMS work?

  1. A car passes wayside detectors which ‘read’ the car​.
  2. Readings are sent to on-site processing, which in turn sends the readings to the railroad’s detector system. ​
  3. The railroad processes the information. ​
  4. Data is sent to Railinc’s Inspection Quality system. 
  5. Railinc processes the message and determines if a new or higher-level alert should be created.
  6. Railinc creates any necessary alerts

 As a car owner or road monitoring the health of inbound assets, you’ll see these alerts when you query in EHMS. These alerts are designed to provide you with an opportunity to address any issues. The alert type and level provide further context as to when you should make repairs.

Alert Types

EHMS manages six types of alerts:

  • AEI (Automatic Equipment Identification) ​
  • Wheels​
  • Trucks​
  • Bearings ​
  • Couplers​
  • Line of Road Failure (LORF)

Alert Levels

When EHMS creates an alert for any of the categories above, it assigns an alert level. This alert level helps you determine how quickly the issue needs to be addressed.


1. Window Open (W) > some deterioration​

2. Opportunistic (O) > opportunity to schedule repairs before they are required​

3. Condemnable (C) > needs replacement, car can be shopped for repair​

4. Mandatory (M) > needs immediate attention & repair​


Window Open and Opportunistic alerts provide the opportunity to make repairs before repairs are required. As a car owner, consistently monitoring your fleet for these alerts will enable greater control over where and when repairs take place.


Benefits of EHMS

EHMS benefits the industry in the following ways:

  • Prevents Serious Equipment Damage or Accidents​
    • Informs all parties that there is an issue with a car before a problem arises, enabling proactive maintenance
    • Reduces stress on infrastructure by enabling cars to be addressed before they cause damage​


  • Improves Asset Utilization and Yard Efficiencies​
    • Enables planned maintenance, resulting in improved customer service and reduced service interruptions
    • Increases the opportunity to address issues when the car is empty, rather when in use​


  • Provides Critical Equipment Information​
    • Reduces time needed for manual inspection​
    • Informs the car owner, current handling line and other interested parties when there is a problem with the car​
    • Allows for closing alerts when an issue has been addressed​


  • Reduces Equipment Maintenance Costs​
    • Provides the car owner a window of opportunity to repair a car before it becomes an issue​
    • Reduces costs of track and other infrastructure maintenance​


Using EHMS Data to Optimize Repair Planning

For Car Owners:

While the above benefits are attainable using EHMS data, identifying opportunities to optimize repair planning requires constant vigilance. Our CarLogix Equipment Health Report simplifies, organizes and prioritizes equipment health alerts from EHMS and other systems in a single screen. Otherwise, it’s necessary to query your equipment in EHMS regularly, one car at a time.  


For railroads:
EHMS helps roads prepare for equipment coming to their property and understand when repairs are required. As mentioned above, EHMS allows roads to search for equipment one car at a time. For efficiency, it’s best to use a software that integrates to EHMS and other systems that summarizes health information for you. This enables teams to quickly identify inbound cars with concerns and create a plan to address the issues.


For companies responsible for managing and maintaining assets, using EHMS data is an essential part of any maintenance plan. Contact us to learn how automating your asset health reporting can help enable greater control over maintenance and reduced repair costs.