Conrail Case Study


Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail)


Conrail on track using Diplomat MFT


Single solution to handle both encryption/decryption and file transfer

Ability to handle rising numbers of daily transactions – number of transactions has more than doubled to date

Ensure files are transferred on time every time


Secure method of transferring confidential financial data between banks and other railroads

Automatic notification of any failed transfers

Easy troubleshooting – complete log files and audit trail

Failsafe environment: automated backups and a disaster recovery license

Improved efficiency and automation with no manual intervention


Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) is a switching and terminal railroad headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company operates over approximately 1,200 miles of track in three geographical regions: Detroit, Michigan; Northern New Jersey; and Southern New Jersey/Philadelphia. As an agent for line haul carriers Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation, Inc., Conrail’s mission is to provide safe and efficient rail service to customers located in the geographical regions that they serve.

The Challenge

Conrail’s finance department exchanges customer transaction data with eight different banks using a variety of methods. When SunTrust Banks Inc. announced it was discontinuing the dial-up service that Conrail had been using, Conrail had two months to set up another way to manage secure FTP. John Turner of Conrail’s IT department began the search, looking at products currently in use at the company and also searching the Internet for a solution that would meet the new requirements. After looking into the product that was already in use by the finance department, Turner decided to keep looking — “We needed something less cumbersome.” He also wanted a supported product rather than freeware.

Diplomat MFT couldn’t be easier to use. You download it, use a menu to set it up, schedule your transactions, and walk away. From now on, all requirements for FTP at Conrail will be implemented on Diplomat MFT. From the moment I found the Coviant website, everything went smoothly. Download and set up were a snap. If I had questions, I got a quick and helpful response from the company. But what I didn’t realize – until our testing got underway – was that Diplomat MFT would give us so much more than we initially envisioned.

Conrail IT Team

John Turner

Healthcare CTO

The Solution

Turner used Google to search for a secure FTP product that would meet Conrail’s needs. “When I saw Coviant’s ad ‘Trading partners requiring FTP and PGP. Start transferring files today,’ it sounded like just what I was looking for.” A review of the Coviant Software website led Turner to download a free trial of Diplomat MFT. During software evaluation, the Conrail team found that Diplomat MFT could meet their key requirements—and more. Diplomat MFT’s built-in scheduler and menu-driven transaction creation delivered the efficiency and ease of use they needed. As testing of Coviant Software continued, Conrail discovered that choosing Diplomat MFT Standard Edition would result in additional highly advantageous functions, including event notification, log files, database-driven audit trail, and a disaster recovery license. Using event notification, any job problems are reported via email, and IT can check for any problems first thing in the morning. Using the audit trail, the Conrail team can easily review status and, if problems have occurred, quickly find the source for faster and more straightforward troubleshooting. As a result of the evaluation, Conrail selected Diplomat MFT Standard Edition. On the business side, Diplomat MFT provides end-to-end automation of a process that had required numerous manual steps with the dial up system. Previously, Conrail’s finance department would manually place files to be uploaded to the SunTrust server in a certain location on their computer and initiate the job that would pick them up. With Coviant Software, all of these operations are automated.

Since moving to Diplomat MFT, Conrail has experienced almost no problems with file transfers. “We have only had a couple of jobs that failed to transfer due to the files being late to show up in the directory we look in to get the file. SunTrust has now fixed this problem.” On the IT side, Conrail benefits from Diplomat MFT’s support for any version of Windows, because Diplomat MFT can pick up and drop off files on any Windows machine. “We appreciate that Diplomat MFT will run anywhere in our all-Windows environment, independent of the specific operating system or version” says Turner. “So, if we haven’t yet installed a particular service pack on a machine, for example, that won’t prevent Diplomat from doing its job.”

Plans for Expansion

Conrail has already expanded its use of Diplomat MFT to handle payroll and rolling stock information to other railroads. Conrail expects to have transfers with five of its eight banking partners automated using Diplomat MFT.

When I saw Coviant’s ad ‘Trading partners requiring FTP and PGP. Start transferring files today,’ it sounded like just what I was looking which led to me downloading a Free Trial and pleased to say Diplomat MFT did meet our requirements.

John Turner

Conrail IT Team


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