AAR Technical Services & Resources

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The AAR’s Technical Services group is responsible for the development, maintenance, and enforcement of North American railroad interchange rules, mechanical standards, and component specifications. Interoperability defines the North American railways, and Technical Services are instrumental to its success.


Technical Services

Technical Services, a division of MxV Rail, plays a critical role in managing, executing, and enforcing many of the key aspects of AAR interchange service. Over the past 25 years, MxV Rail has brought together four unique groups of technical experts and formed one focused team of specialists to lead the rail industry into the future.  Technical Services joins the forces of the Mechanical Inspection Department (MID), the Bureau of Explosives (BOE), Damage Prevention and Loading Services (DPLS) and Technical Standards.  Combined, these groups lead the quality, safety and technological initiatives for the entire North American rail industry.



The Mechanical Inspection Department (MID) has supported the rail industry for nearly a century. As a self-regulatory entity, the AAR has entrusted the activities of the MID to MxV Rail since 1998. Our mission is the assurance of the safest railroad transportation possible. This is done through Quality Assurance audits, In-House Technical Inspections, unannounced Routine Inspections, and Training to ensure customers meet industry specifications, Codes of Federal Regulations (CFR) and AAR Interchange Requirements. Our inspectors evaluate the processes/practices insomuch as freight car components are manufactured, reconditioned and/or repaired to AAR industry standards through production procedures, quality controls and component samplings. Inspectors assist in education of personnel in the field who are performing day-to-day operations and give advice for the improvement or correction of repair procedures.

With a highly trained group of Field Inspectors strategically located in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, this group is directed toward a proactive approach in the safe transportation and safe interchange of all freight car rolling stock.

The Bureau of Explosives (BOE) is a unique membership organization dedicated to helping carriers, shippers, and container manufacturers continually improve hazardous materials (hazmat) transportation safety. Formed in 1907 by the railroad industry to serve as a self-policing agency to advance the safe transportation of explosives and other dangerous articles, the BOE actually developed the first hazmat safety rules, which were later adopted and expanded upon by the Interstate Commerce Commission and later the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Today’s BOE continues to provide valuable services and products throughout North America that promote compliance with federal hazmat regulations and industry safety standards.


Damage Prevention and Loading Services (DPLS) conducts testing for railroads, shippers and suppliers to guide the establishment of industry approved freight loading and securing rules and standards for boxcar, intermodal container/trailer, automobile, and open top shipments.  Established in 1894 under the Master Car Builders’ Association, DPLS has evolved from its early roots at the AAR Chicago Technical Center to become a world leader in product and component certification and approval for load securement applications in North America and around the world.

With oversight from the AAR, our Technical Standards department is responsible for the development, maintenance, and enforcement of North American railroad interchange rules, mechanical standards, and component specifications that promote an acceptable level of safety and efficiency. Committees managed by MxV Rail include the Equipment Engineering, Quality Assurance, Wheel Axle Bearing & Lubrication, Brake Systems, Coupling System & Truck Castings, and Intermodal.

Through management of AAR mechanical committees and the QA Committee, MxV Rail maintains, publishes, and provides fulfillment to the AAR Manual of Standards and Recommended Practices, the Field and Office Manuals of the AAR Interchange Rules, and AAR Freight Loading Rules. These committees also oversee certification of over 1,000 facilities that comply with AAR Rules and Standards.

The Quality Assurance Committee is responsible for developing and maintaining AAR Quality Assurance Specification M-1003 and governing the AAR Quality Assurance Program.


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Frequently Asked Questions

A summary of the AAR approval process for railroad components can be found at https://aar.com/standards/approval-process.php or by contacting us at techstds@aar.com

Details on how to acquire Field and Office Manuals, Manuals of Standards and Recommended Practices (MSRP), Open Top Loading Rules and Intermodal Manuals can be found at Association of American Railroads Publications (aarpublications.com)

Yes, we provide FCC licensing and Frequency Coordination services in the Private Land Mobile Radio (PLMR) spectrum. Contact us at coordination@aar.com

MxV Rail’s Damage Prevention & Loading Services (DPLS) provides a range of testing services for dunnage verification or certification, including full scale service testing for consideration for rail interchange. Contact DPLS at dpls@aar.com.

The M-1003 Quality Assurance Program is managed by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC). Details regarding committee membership and management, as well as information on the M-1003 program, can be found at https://aar.com/standards/qa.php

A list of AAR approved products and facilities can be found at https://aar.com/standards/approvals.php
Registry of M-1003 certified facilities can be found at https://aar.com/standards/M-1003_registry.php
Registry of M-1002 certified facilities can be found at https://aar.iirx.net/Registries/M1002

“I am immensely proud to be part of MxV Rail and the Damage Prevention and Load Services team. I know the work that we do here, using our test fixtures and test tracks, is an important part of keeping North America’s railways safe.”

Kelsey EvenMxV Rail Manager