Which RFID Tags Are Best for Tracking Railcars?

By RFID Journal

  • TAGS
Ask The ExpertsWhich RFID Tags Are Best for Tracking Railcars?
RFID Journal Staff asked 15 years ago

Are there any RFID tags that can be utilized to track railway cars? We need tags that meet the following specifications:

• Easily installable underneath the cars

• Operating temperature: -40 degrees Celsius to +70 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit to +158 degrees Fahrenheit)

• Waterproof and dustproof (IP classification: IP67)

• Adapted to outdoor, ice and snow environments

• In compliance with the railway specification for vibration and shock

• Minimum writable memory size:18 bytes

• Minimum reading distance from the tag: 20 centimeters (7.9 inches)

• Minimum distinguishable distance between two tags: 9 meters (29.5 feet) horizontally and 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) vertically

• Tag lifetime: a minimum of 6 years

—F. Arabzadeh


There are a variety of tags and interrogators designed for tracking railway cars. The South African railroad system, in 2007, began tracking railway cars with passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags from Transcore (see South African Railroad Switches to Passive RFID). TagMaster, in Sweden, offers a 2.45 GHZ tag designed for tracking rolling stock. And Balogh has a system for tracking railway cars as well. I'm not certain all of these will meet each of your specs, but each should accommodate most of them.

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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