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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How-To: Railroad cross-country tracking of your Corvette's train progress.

image.jpg

Above will be your Corvette's cross-country mobile garage (thanks Norfolk Southern for an "autorack" picture).

Per 'Wiki'/How It Works," an 'autorack', also known as an auto carrier, is a specialized piece of railroad rolling stock used to transport automobiles and light trucks, generally from factories to automotive distributors." Most newer autoracks are three levels tall, carry approximately 18 vehicles. If only composed of auto carriers (not typical, but "sometimes"), a train of autoracks has 70 railcars, about 1,300 vehicles.

This is simplest "how to" thread on our forum.

Note the following is a compendium of mainly others' ideas, specifically, with thanks to "Adrian-S, cj2driver and Haz wasted." Just added a couple more pieces to the train tracking process.

1) First, ask the your dealer for your train car number. Note, these autorack numbers are not assigned when your Corvette, with its 10 others, leaves the Plant in a Jack Copper Transport truck, not even assigned when your car arrives at CSX's Toledo, OH after its typical one-day transit from BGAP, but assigned roughly 5 days AFTER it was dropped off at that yard (the average time it takes to get your car loaded onto a train and leave the yard.)

Note: To separately track you car by Jack Cooper truck transport, please use this thread:

http://www.stingrayforums.com/forum.../8101-how-onstar-tracking-process-set-up.html

The reason why you want to use RR tracking, instead of OnStar truck transport tracking, especially for long trips to the Rockies and the West Coast, is two fold. First, every time you ask OnStar for your car's location, it queries you car ("where are you?"), causing some battery usage, AND as posted a couple of days ago, you do not want an worn down battery to prevent your car from being able to be started when your Corvette is trying to be unloaded from the train at its last stop, or failing to start when it is being loaded onto the final, local truck transporter (the one taking it to your dealership). Second, and more important, is that OnStar "times out" after the vehicle has been sitting for 3 to 4 days. If, after OnStar has gone temporarily to sleep after the 3 to 4 days, when you query it, you will get in unable to locate code of 216 or 217.

Even though, once the rail car is west of roughly Chicago, that it is now on Union Pacific (as opposed to CSX) tracks, you can continue to use the CSX tracking system below until your car reaches its final railyard destination.

Let us assume that you car left the Plant six days ago, has been sitting in the CSX Toledo, Ohio train yard for the last five days and now has an assigned rail car number.

2) Never speak to a human on this line. Use the automated system only, as we, the general public, aren't supposed to know how to do this. It is designed for paying railroad freight customers, not us third-party GM car purchasers. Again, if at any time a person starts talking to you because you goofed up, hang up, do not say a word, do not ask any questions, etc. By hanging up, not saying one single word, you will not ruin it for the next Corvette owner looking for his new Corvette somewhere in America. Thank you!

3) For sake of our following hypothetical railroad car tracking example, let us say yours is: "ETTX123456" (always four letters, always followed by six numbers).

A) Call CSX railroad at: 1.800.235.2352;

B) When prompted by a human-sounding but computer voice, asking for location or weight, say "location."

C) When prompted for the rail car's initials, say "ETTX". (Enunciate clearly, with a very short pause between letters.) You will then be computer voice asked, did you say "ETTX?" and respond with only the word "yes." (Or "no" if not correct.)

Option (thanks to "rdslon01"):
The letter "E" is located on the telephone keypad on the number 3, and "E" is the 2nd letter on that key. So, "E"=32.
The letter "T" is located on the telephone keypad on the number 8, and "T" is the 1st letter on that key. So, "T"=81.
The letter "T" is located on the telephone keypad on the number 8, and "T" is the 1st letter on that key. So, "T"=81.
The letter "X" is located on the telephone keypad on the number 9, and "X" is the 2nd letter on that key. So, "X"=92.

Put it all together, and "ETTX"=32818192.


D) When prompted for your 6-digit rail car number, say "1 2 3 4 5 6". (Again enunciate, with very short pauses.)

And another option, again thanks to rdslon01:
You can choose to key in the numbers instead of saying them (again, this increases the chance that the computer will understand instead of transferring you to a live operator). This one is easy: to enter something like rail car number "123456" just hit the sequence of numbers "1 2 3 4 5 6" on the keypad.

E) When prompted for the next car, say "Done."

You will be asked to stand-by. Then about ten seconds later, the computer voice gives you your rail car's city and state location, and gives you the time when your rail car left its last rail station.

F) The computer generated voice will give you an opportunity for you to tell it to "fax to you" your train car's location. Please do not tell it to fax you that information, for you will then generate a computer record with your personal phone number on it. As per section 2.B, we do not want CSX to realize that the party requesting this information is not a direct freight-paying customer, and then choose to modify their system so other Corvette purchasers after you might lose this train tracking capability.

G) HANG UP!

Note, please: In the great open spaces of the western part of the United States, where major rail stations can be hundreds of miles apart, you can only estimate your car's exact position. Of course, by saving your battery during the approximate 7 to 10 days that the train takes to get from Ohio to the Rockies and the West Coast respectively, you can then use the OnStar system to track the very last part of your car's journey, ideally meeting the transporter as it drives the last five miles toward your dealership.
 

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The East Coast does not have to be concerned about this process.
Hi Mike why is that? I'm on the east coast and my car has been sitting in New Boston, MI rail yard for 8 days now waiting to get loaded on a train to MA.
 

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Boy I wish they would truck to MA it's only 1,000 miles or 16 hour drive so could have car in 2 days instead it's been 10 days in shipment and counting. I should of ordered my car from you and then picked it up and drove it home. :D
 

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Boy I wish they would truck to MA it's only 1,000 miles or 16 hour drive so could have car in 2 days instead it's been 10 days in shipment and counting. I should of ordered my car from you and then picked it up and drove it home. :D
This too shall pass. As long as you get it safe and sound in your garage sooner then later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Why are they called "autoracks?" Pretty obvious, but even more so when you see the triple stacking that they allow for Corvettes, as in this picture. They stack, end-to-end, six of our cars in a row.

image.jpg

Sorry about the picture quality, but taken off the morning TV news, then cropped/zeroed in to get it. Tall vehicles, such as SUV's and full-sized pickups, are double stacked.
 

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Very cool John! I also just read the original post and didn't realize that onstar tracking queries the car and utilizes battery usage - oops!! I better stop doing that every hour lol!! Thanks for all the valuable info as usual!!
 

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Has anyone purchased their car from MacMulkin Chevrolet? Want to find out if they provided the rail car info you needed to track your car during transit.
 

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I was hoping to take advantage of this process and I requested the rail car number for my Corvette. What I received didn't match the expected 4-letter + 6-digit format.

They took this directly from the GM dealer site:
Effective 4/14/2016
Shipped from TOLEDO OH to PORTLAND OR/NORFOLK SOUTHERN
Rail-SP-516570

Any ideas? Am I just out of luck? Given the provisions/warnings outlined in the original post, I don't want to call the number and just experiment on the off chance "rail" satisfies the letter requirement or something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Crossbones, I would try ETTX 516570 and see if that works. The SP you were given stands for Southern Pacific I believe, and is irrelevant. Worst that happens is that you try the ETTX 516570 and their computer voice says, "do not recognize."

Good luck.
 

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I gave it a shot, but it came back with "no status available" for that car. Oh well...

Do all they all start with ETTX? The way I read the instructions above, I thought that--like the numbers 123456--was just an example and would vary from car to car (though it did strike my brain as sounding more meaningful than random).
 

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For the rail car initials, did you try "7471"? Those are the digits for "SP".

There is also one other thing which could be happening. The railcar which will be used for the transportation is assigned before the car is actually loaded. This information may already appear in GM OrderWORKBENCH even though the Corvette has not yet been loaded into the railcar. You might have to wait a few days until the railcar is actually loaded.
 

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Did you ever wonder why so many of the railcars used to transport Corvettes have initials ETTX? Have you ever tracked an SUV or a truck moving through the rail system from a manufacturing plant to your local dealer? Did you notice how the initials for railcars which carry larger vehicles are TTGX? Is there some coincidence that both sets of initials contain the letters TTX, with another letter located somewhere else in the name?

Wonder no more.

TTX (or Trailer Train eXperts) is a railcar pooling company.


Oh, and where do those railcar initials ETTX and TTGX come from? See https://www.ttx.com/about/equipment/#automotiveflatcars.
 

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Resurrecting an old thread I know!

Seems the tracking system no longer works as I do have the rail car # (it's confirmed my C7 has been loaded) but the 800 number reports the car "has been released by the customer on Sept 28th" in San Bernardino, CA.

Oh well.....
 

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Registered just to post a Thank you! This works for me as I am able to track my new Mustang (sorry...big Vette fan too) coming from the factory.
 

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Welcome to our forum bd3lcs1 and glad that the info worked for you as well. Thanks for the feedback.:eek:nthego:
 
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