AAR M1002 and M1003 Approval Process Overview

Brief overview:

The current project that TRIG is working on is the XLOAD. As this project is to be mounted on a rail car it has to adhere to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) standards and procedure for approving a new device. The scope of these standards includes the manufacturing, production, and use of this product and has the purpose to ensure safety and quality of the product. A summary of the requirements for getting AAR approval is outlined below.

  • M1003 – Quality Assurance Certification
  • M1002 – Facility Manufacturing Approval
  • Additional product certification / approval requirements

Once the AAR approves a device it can be manufactured then the company would be allowed to move it into a two year service trial phase in which the products need to be tracked and quarterly reports to the AAR are required.


M1003 is a quality assurance program created and used by the AAR to improve the quality of products. The requirements are outlined in Section J in the Manual of Standards and Recommended Practices (MSRP) supplied by the AAR. This program is similar to ISO 9001, but caters more to the requirements of the AAR. A full outline of what is required can be found in Chapter 2 of Section J. There are 19 main sections which covers: corrective and preventative actions, document control, measuring and testing, purchasing and contracting, incoming inspections, in-process inspections, final inspections, inspection status, identification and traceability, process control, preservation/packaging/shipping, quality records, non-conformance control, quality program review and manual, process capability and statistical methods, internal quality audits, training, contract review, and design control. Once all the required documents and procedures are in place, the ongoing requirements are an annual audit, keeping up to date on publications from the AAR, and recertification of the whole process every three years.


M1002 is a quality assurance program created and used by the AAR to ensure the facilities manufacturing railway devices meet a certain level of standards and procedures. A full outline of what is required can be found in Section C, Part III in the MSRP. This program covers all the manufacturing facilities but each facility only needs to meet the requirement that is relevant to them. A full list of all the Tank Car Activity Certifications can be found in section 2.1.1 in Section C, Part III. For TRIG the relevant ones are C4 – Manufacture of tank car service equipment, C5 – Recondition/repair and qualification of tank car service equipment, and C6 – Removal and replacement of tank car service equipment (including changing of gaskets). These cover the product TRIG is planning on making, which is classified as a “Primary Closure – Electronic Gauging device”. The requirements of the program are summarized on the form Exhibit B-2 found in Section C, Part III, though not all it applies to TRIG. Some sections that do apply are Publications, Documentations, Facilities, Quality Assurance and Non-destructive Examination, Service Equipment Practices, Tank Car valve and Fittings Practices, Inspections and Tests Practices, and TDG Regulations and CGSB Standard Requirements.

Additional Requirements

The above certifications are required for manufacturing the device. The device design must also be approved by the AAR Tank Car Committee. Depending on the device being approved certain requirements must be met by the design. For the device TRIG is creating one such requirement is intrinsic safety, which must be met by all electrical devices. This requirement can be found in section C, Part III, 3.13.1. For TRIG the intrinsic safety will be evaluated by the CSA. Other requirements are environmental requirements that can be found in 3.13.2. These will be covered by the MIL-STD 810 testing. Other requirements such as material requirements are also outlined in section C, Part III.

Once the device has been approved, and the facility has QA (M1003) and Technical (M1002) approval then a conditional approval will be issued from the AAR. This is usually in place for two year and places a limit on the number of components that can be sold. TRIG will be required to provide sales and service reports to the Committee. After this period, if successful, unlimited approval will be granted allowing for any number of devices to be sold.

More Information

For a simple overview of the AAR Approval Process see the word document CLICK HERE

Detailed Process for Approval of Railroad Components

Figure 1 Order of Approvals