Types of Rail Scales

What Type of Rail Scale do you Need?

The first question you need to answer when determining what type of rail scale to purchase is: Do I need a Legal for Trade rail scale?

If you plan to sell a product using the weight readout from your rail scale, the answer is always going to be yes. Legal for Trade is a certification controlled by Weights and Measures agencies to ensure the weighing system is accurate enough to allow fair commerce using the weight readout of the system. Rail scale Legal for Trade applications includes purchasing incoming goods by weight, issuing tolls, overload fines, and other regulatory fees by weight. If you need a Legal for Trade railroad scale, Weigh-Tec offers NTEP Certified and Measurement Canada Approved rail scales that we sell and install for you.

Legal for Trade rail scales are typically more precise and are usually permanent rail car weighing solutions. Because these systems tend to be more complex and require a concrete foundation, Legal for Trade rail scales have a longer installation time and generally require a larger up-front investment.

If you do not need Legal for Trade approval, you might be using your rail scale for check weighing rail cars, tracking inventory, verifying safe loads, and performing non-commercial filling operations. Non-Legal for Trade rail scales can usually be installed in as little as one day, and because most do not require a concrete foundation or reconstruction, systems are installed at a fraction of the cost of traditional foundation scales.


There are many advantages to purchasing a non-Legal for Trade rail scale, including the short installation time and the cost. Heavy-duty, accurate, non-Legal for Trade rail scales are ideal for check weighing applications and they are relatively straightforward systems. Some models can be easily integrated into existing railroads with minimal downtime or modifications.

Non-Legal for Trade railroad scales are ideal for many applications, including the following:

  • Determining the gross or tare weight for rail cars
  • Verifying weights of outbound rail cars do not exceed overload limits
  • Ensuring rail carloads are safely balanced
  • Check weighing inbound rail cars
  • Filling rail cars to the optimal weight within legal limits
  • Incoming and outgoing inventory verification


Legal for Trade rail scales are the most durable and accurate railroad scales you can install. With a concrete foundation and the ability to be customized for each application, traditional Legal for Trade railroad track scales will provide the utmost in longevity and accuracy.

Weigh-Tec offers and installs both Legal for Trade and non-Legal for Trade rail scale solutions. The Rail Boss system from Rice Lake is a non-Legal for Trade rail scale made of heavy-duty gauged rail sections. These systems replace sections of the existing railroad and function as a check weigher for rail cars. It does not require a pit or concrete foundation and can be installed in a single day. Rice Lakes SURVIVOR PL and SURVIVOR RT are Legal for Trade rail scales that provide the option for weighing only rail cars or the rail car and truck.

Check out our rail scale projects here: https://www.weightec.com/rail-scales/

If you have any questions call us: (256)301-4458