Glossary of Railroad Terminology

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“Out of route”
Longer or less competitive route


286,000 lbs. Rail track segments with 286,000 lbs. or 143-ton car capacity restrictions. A section of track with a 286 restriction cannot handle cars with lading weight of 143 tons or more.


Third Party Logistics Third-party logistics and/or service provider who acts on behalf of a shipper or carrier. A 3PL may also be referred to as an IMC (Intermodal Marketing Company), freight forwarder, transportation broker or intermediary.


Association of American Railroads The Association of American Railroads represents North America's major freight railroads and Amtrak. Association members include the BNSF, UP, KCS, CSXT, NS, CP, CN, TFM and FNM.
Automated Broker Interface
Absorbed Switching
Switching Payables Payment by a carrier, out of its revenue on a shipment, of the charges assessed by others for switching of its cars.
Accesorial Charges
Charges for a wide variety of services and privileges that are made available in connection with the transportation of goods. They include all charges other than freight charges. E.g., charges for services such as detention, spotting, rejected loads, equipment furnished but not used, reconsignment storage etc.
Automatic Clearing House Electronic means of receiving payment for linehaul charges from customers.
Any system to provide for automated identification of cars in a train. The commonly used system consists of a set of 13 reflective "modules" on each side of a car, caboose, locomotive, container, or trailer, which identifies the owner, number and equipment.
Automated Commercial System
Actual Placement (AP)
Car placed at a customer location waiting for loading or unloading. Also known as Active Placement. Automatic Equipment Identification (AEI) Reader or Tag
1. AEI Readers (interrogators) are installed at strategic points such as plant entrance and/or exit points, railroad junction points etc. to read AEI tags. Also known as Automatic Car Identification or Rail Car Identification tags. 2. AEI tags (transponders) store certain information about the rail car, such as the owner and car number. Tags can be mounted on trailers, railcars, containers and locomotives. As tagged equipment passes a reader, the tag identifies the equipment and the reader relays the time, date or other programmed information to a host computer.
Allowance Contract
Incentive Agreement Rail agreements specifying a contract allowance or incentive payment based on a minimum threshold. The minimum threshold may involve volume increases, improved balance, private equipment or equipment conversion, street time improvement etc.
Automated Manifest System. Means of speeding the flow of cargo through an electronic release notification system.
Ancillary Agreement
Multi-party agreement ancillary to a contract usually signed by a railroad and its customers for large volumes of business. These agreements involve the beneficial owner, the railroad, and the appropriate channel participant(s).
Assigned units
Rail-controlled units assigned to a nonasset-based shipper such as an IMC. The purpose of taking units under assignment is so that the units will not be returned empty to the ramp and will constantly be re-loaded and shipped in a high volume lane on the rail. In return, the customer typically receives a lower per diem rate
Arrival times for intermodal and over-the-road freight. Cutoff- to- availability tables reflect transit times of shipments.
Availability Time
Time equipment is grounded and available for pick-up by the customer.


Back Haul
1. Haul a shipment over part of the reverse route the car traveled with the initial load. 2. Shipment hauled back over part of or the entire route of the car. 3. Shipment moving in the direction of the light flow of traffic. 4. Picking up a load in a piece of equipment that normally runs empty.
Bad Order
Car awaiting or undergoing repairs. A freight car loaded improperly, mechanically defective, or with safety violations.
Stone or gravel placed in a roadbed to provide a sturdy surface for the track and to facilitate drainage.
Bare Table
Intermodal flat cars moving empty, with no vans or containers on them.
Beneficial Owner
Person or legal entity who owns or has title to the freight being transported. Beneficial owners may use freight third parties such as IMCs to negotiate transportation services and rates on their behalf.
Bill of Lading (BOL)
See Shipping Instructions
Bill Road
Billing Carrier Carrier performing the first line haul service of the movement. This carrier is responsible for preparing the waybill document and transmitting the information to any following carriers.
Blocking or Bracing
Wooden, metal, or other approved support to keep shipments in place on railcars or within containers and trailers.
Bonded Warehouse
Warehouse owned by persons approved by the Treasury Department, an under bond or guarantee for the strict observance of the revenue laws; utilized for storing goods until duties are paid or goods are otherwise properly released.
61 - IT: Immediate Transportation 62 - T&E: Transportation and Exportation 63 - IE: Immediate Exportation 69 – Transit 70 – Multi-transit
Box Car
Enclosed car used for general service and for freight that must be protected from the weather.
Bridge Move
Railroad movement involving at least three roadhaul carriers at which BNSF is neither the first or last carrier.
Individual who acts as an agent for a customer, who is attempting to route a car to a customer in Mexico or Canada. Equipment destined to a locale in Mexico is billed only to the border. At that time a broker, in cooperation with a broker in Mexico, prepares the proper paperwork. This allows the car to cross the border and proceed to its destination.
Bulk Freight
Loose freight, such as coal, sand, and grain handled in its natural state, and not packaged, or boxed in individual units or containers.
Bulkhead Flat
Flat cars equipped with fixed or permanently attached movable bulkheads or ends a minimum of 3 feet in height and flat floor for general commodity loading.
Bundled Price
  1. Line haul rate that includes the cost of drayage services and accessorial charges such as "free days" or per diem relief. (Intermodal freight)
  2. Line haul rate that includes the combination of rail and transload costs. (Carload freight)


Customs Automated Manifest Interface Requirements. Specific procedures for the importing trade communities that are interested in participating in the AMS.
  1. General Capacity: Rail demand or volume. The factors affecting capacity for a railroad are numerous. These include for example; crews, track, locomotives, equipment etc.
  2. Car Capacity: Cubic foot capacity of a railcar with the exception of a flat car. The nominal car capacity refers to numeric capacity, in thousands of pounds, as stenciled on the car and defined by the AAR.
  3. Line or track Capacity: Maximum number of trains that can operate safely and reliably in each direction over a given segment of track during a given period of time (e.g., 24 hours)
  4. Locomotive Capacity: Locomotives available to move demand
Capitalized Costs Car
Expenditures that have future benefit and thus are recorded as assets Freight car bearing railroad reporting marks
Car Hire
Compensation to be paid by a user to an owner for use of a car. Such compensation may include, but need not be limited to, hourly and mileage rates.
Car Init & Number
Car Initial and Number (Sometimes referred to as CARINO) Initial and number given to a railcar by the AAR in conjunction with owner's initials as a means of car identification
Car Initial
4-byte initial of the unit that carried the commodity. Usually this 4-byte initial is stenciled on the equipment. A unit is a car, van or container. Trailer initials usually ends in Z as in JBHZ and container initials in U, e. g., JBHU.
Shipment of not less than 5 tons of one commodity
Customs and Border Protection
Supporting frame of a vehicle, trailer, or container, usually including the wheels or engine onto which the metal container or trailer is fixed for transportation
1. Damage Claim: Claim due to physical injury to shipment or because shipment was not delivered within a reasonable time. 2. Loss Claim: Claim due to failure to deliver goods. 3. Overcharge Claim: Claim when more than the legally published charges are collected. 4. Reparation Claims: Claim for a refund of charges that, while in accordance with legally published tariffs, are unreasonable or unjust and the carrier has since published the lower reasonable rate.
Class I Railroad
Railroad with operating revenues of more than $259.4 million annually
Grouping of railcars in a yard in accordance with train movement requirements, usually by destination station or junction
Classification Yard
Yard in which cars are classified and grouped in accordance with movement requirements
Limiting dimensions of a rail shipment that allow it to clear tunnels and bridges
In interline moves, the amount of transportation and other charges are paid at the point of termination of the final rail carrier
Person responsible for the safe and proper management of the train
Connecting Carrier
Carrier that has a direct physical connection with another or forming a connecting link between two or more carriers
Railroad or station at which a rail carrier interchanges traffic
Receiver or company receiving the shipment at destination
Shipper or the company sending the rail shipment at origin
1. Make-up of a freight train in terms of the car types 2. List of locomotive units, cars in train
Constructive Placement (CP)
Car that cannot be placed for loading or unloading due to some disability on the part of a shipper or receiver. The CPed car is subject to demurrage charges, the same as if it was actually placed.
Receptacle that resembles a truck trailer that is lifted onto flatcars without the chassis. Most containers are 20, 45, 48 or 53 feet in length.
Container on Flatcar (COFC)
Movement of a container on a railroad flat car. This movement is made without the container being mounted on a chassis.
Conventional Car
Intermodal single platform flat car for conventional piggyback loading as opposed to stack loading. Designed to carry single stacked trailers or containers. They are equipped with one or two stanchions, depending on length, for shipment of one or two trailers and are about 89ft long with a tare weight of about 35 tons.
Certificate of Transportation; Futures issued by Railroads to grain customers as a guarantee to present empty covered hoppers for loading at a specific location with the option to lock in a price. If the railroad does not deliver the railcar at the prescribed location and time, it pays a penalty at a rate specified in the COT.
Crew District
Railroad operations territory with distinct crew characteristics such as crew rates, over mile rates, arbitraries etc.
Distribution facility used for the transfer of intermodal traffic for rail or truck interchange. The idea is to transfer incoming shipments directly to outgoing trailers without storing them in between. Shipments typically spend less than 24 hours at the facility, sometimes less than an hour.
Customer 6-3-3
Abbreviated 12-digit customer name
Customer Destination Instructions (CDI)
Rail location of a customer’s facility
Customs Broker
Company or individual licensed by the Treasury Department to act on behalf of importers/exporters in handling U.S. customs transactions
Cutoff Time
Time a container or trailer must be ingated at the terminal to meet a scheduled train loading for departure. If a unit comes in after the scheduled cutoff, it is scheduled for the train coinciding with a later cut- off time. Cutoff-to-availability tables reflect transit times of shipments.
Cycle Time
Velocity; length of time consumed by a freight car from one loading to the next


Damage Free (DF)
Car equipped with special bracing devices to decrease the possibility of damage to lading
1. Paid crew moving on trains, without performing service, from one terminal to another at railroad's convenience 2. Any railroad employee traveling on a pass 3. Locomotive hauled by another  
Dedicated Train
Train that, by design, transports a dedicated commodity or type of cars. In the case of intermodal shipments, trains only carry trailers and/or containers.
1. A penalty charge assessed by railroads for the detention of cars by shippers or receivers of freight beyond a specified free time 2. Detention of a railcar by the shipper or receiver beyond the time allowed for loading, unloading
Department of Transportation (DOT)
U.S. government agency having jurisdiction over matters of all modes of transportation. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is the branch of the DOT that establishes safety standards for rail equipment.
Term used when rolling equipment leaves the rail tracks
Lifting of intermodal containers or trailers off intermodal flatcars by special lift machinees
Station where rail movement terminates
Charge made on trailers or containers held by or for a consignor or consignee for loading or unloading, forwarding directions, or any other purpose
Detention Free Time
Amount of time that a vehicle detained due to improper or incomplete shipping instructions can remain at an intermodal facility without incurring detention charges
Distributed Power (DP)
Addition of a locomotive at the back of a train
Change made in the route of a shipment in transit, the destination or consignee of a freight movement triggering a potential change in the rate and/or availability of the shipment
Dog Catcher
Rescue crew sent out to pick-up trains that had a crew run out of time on the train
Movement from the door or dock of the shipping customer to the door or dock of the receiving customer
Movement from the customers front door or dock to the destination intermodal ramp closest to the receiver
Double Track
Parallel sets of main line tracks typically found in areas with high densities of traffic
1.  Movement of containers on articulated rail cars that enable one container to be stacked on another container for better ride quality and car utilization 2.  Flat cars enabling containers to be stacked one atop another
Person employed to pick up or drop off a container or trailer at an intermodal terminal
Number of hours a car spends without line haul movement. Same as Demurragge


EDI 322
DI Terminal Operations Activity This transaction set can be used to provide all the information necessary for a terminal operator or port authority to communicate terminal activities (e.g., ingates and outgates) to authorized parties to a shipment
EDI 404
The EDI transaction set used in transmitting bill of lading information. This transaction set can be used to transmit rail carrier-specific bill of lading information to a railroad. It is the initial tender of a shipment between a consignor and a rail carrier and can be used as notification of equipment release and/or a legal bill of lading
EDI 824
This transaction set can be used to provide the ability to report the results of an application system’s data content edits of the transaction sets. The results of editing transaction set can be reported at the functional group level or transaction set level in coded or free format
EDI 997
This transaction set can be used to define the control structure of a set of acknowledgements to indicate the results of the syntactical analysis of the electronically encoded documents
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
Process of sending and retrieving information electronically
To resist or prohibit the acceptance and handling of freight. An embargo may be caused by acts of God such as tornadoes, floods, inclement weather, congestion, etc
End-of-Train device (EOT)
Device that is installed at the rear of the train to transmit information to the train engineer
Person who drives the train


Facility Information and Resources Management System. Code representing the location of the goods
Flat Car
Freight car that has a floor without any housing or body above. Frequently used to carry containers and/or trailers or oversized/odd-shaped commodities. Three types of flat cars used in intermodal transportation are conventional, spine and stack cars
Transfer of a container from one chassis to another, from the ground to a chassis or from a chassis to the ground
All other railroads or belonging to another railroad
Federal Railroad Administration The FRA is the branch of the DOT that establishes safety standards for rail equipment. The FRA deals specifically with transportation policy as it affects the nation's railroads and is responsible for enforcement of rail safety lawss.
Free Time
Period allowed the owner of a rail container or trailer to accept delivery before storage or detention charges begin to accrue
1.  Cargo or goods carried by a vehicle 2.  Shipment transported 3.  Compensation paid to a railroad for transporting a commodity 4.  Total charges for the rail shipment from the waybill origin to the waybill destination. This does not include miscellaneous charges such as a stop to partially unload
Freight All Kinds (FAK)
1.  General rate levels offered to various types of customers (domestic, international, contract/non-contract holders) for transporting intermodal shipments 2.  Freight in mixed shipments. Commodities representing 2 or more major STCC groups, where it is impossible to determine the predominant group
Freight Bill
Statement given to the customer of charges for transportation. This is information taken from the waybill.
Freight Forwarder
Person or organization that assembles small shipments into one large shipment which is then tendered to a regulated over the road carrier. Upon reaching destination, the shipment is separated into small shipments and delivered
Freight Station Accounting Codes 5- or 6-digit reference numbers used by railroads in timetables to identify their stations
Fuel Surcharge
Incremental charge added to a freight charge, separate from the line-haul charge, to offset increases in fuel price against the assumed cost of fuel in the initial freight charge


Station or point through which freight commonly moves from one territory or carrier to another
Freight car with sides and no roof
Degree of inclination of a railroad track or slope
Grade crossing
Crossing of highways, railroad tracks, or pedestrian walks or combinations of these on the same level
Grade Separation
Highway or railroad crossing using an underpass or overpass


Hazardous Material
Substance or combination that because of its quantity, concentration, or physical or chemical characteristics, may cause or significantly pose a substantial hazard to human health or the environment when improperly packaged, stored, transported, or otherwise managed
Hopper car
Freight car with its floor sloping to one or more doors designed for unloading the contents (such as coal or ore)  by gravity
Horsepower (HP)
Measure of power. One HP = The force that will raise 33,000 pounds by 1 foot in 1 minute.
Hump Yard
Railroad classification yard in which the classification of cars is accomplished by pushing them over a summit, known as hump, beyond which they run by gravity


1.  Location within an intermodal ramp where entering trucks are inspected 2.  Process of checking a container or trailer into the intermodal facility. The ingate process includes inspection of the unit, reservation confirmation, the input of data into a computer system. When delivering the vehicle to the facility, the drayman must state the applicable shipper and destination
Exchange of railcars between connecting railroads at specified junction points
Interchange Agreement
Agreement between a railroad and a drayage company that allows a specific drayage company to drop off or pick up railroad or private intermodal equipment at the said railroad's facilities. Also known as an Equipment Interchange Agreement.
Interline Freight
Freight moving from point of origin to destination over two or more transportation lines
Interline Move
Rail traffic moving over track belonging to two or more railroads, with interline switching at the gateway
Mode of rail transportation that covers the multi-modal transportation of trailers and/or containers by ship, rail, and truck
Intermodal Association of North America (IANA)
Industry trade association representing the combined interests of intermodal freight transportation companies
Intermodal Marketing Company (IMC)
Company that purchases rail and truck transportation services, uses equipment from multiple sources, and provides other value-added services under a single freight bill to the ultimate shipper or beneficial owner
Intermodal Marketing Extension (IMX)
Intermodal facility that provides over-the-road transportation to and from a BNSF intermodal hub
Interterminal Switching
Switching move performed by two railroads. The first railroad moves equipment from an industry, then interchanges equipment with the second railroad for placement at an industry within the same terminal switching limits


Joint-Line Move
Move where one interline rate is applicable for the entire movement from rail origin to rail destination on two or more railroads. It is published in a single tariff under concurrence of participating railroads. The rate includes all interchange charges unless otherwise noted. Usually shipping instructions governing interline rates are sent to the origin carrier who forwards the shipping  instructions to the other carriers in the route
Station where railroads interchange railcars at a common point or within the switching limits over their own lines, or intermediate line or lines


Lading Tons
Freight volume in tons excluding the weight of the equipment it moves in
Containerized marine traffic that is routed via rail across the United States on traffic between the Far East and Europe/Canada in lieu of all water routees
Less Than Truckload (LTL)
1.  Shipment that would not, by itself, fill the truck to capacity by weight or volume 2.  Trucking carrier that only accepts multiple small shipments for a single trailer
Line Abandonment
Discontinuation of service and maintenance on certain tracks or line segments of a railroad subject to approval of appropriate federal and state agencies
Line Haul
Movement of freight over tracks of a railroad from one station to another (not a switching service). Also known as road haul.
Local Freight Train
Train with an assigned crew that works between predesignated points. Local trains handle the switching outside the jurisdiction of a yard switcher
Local Move
Traffic originating and terminating on a railroad's lines without any interchange. The one carrier serves both the origin and destination station
Loss and Damage
"Normal" day-to-day losses and damages as a result of moving freight such as vandalism, damage due to shipping or derailments and accidennts


Maintenance of Way (MOW)
Process of maintaining roadbed (rail, ties, ballast, bridges, etc.). These materials are hauled in special maintenance of way cars, which also include cars that are equipped with heavy equipment, such as cranes and tie replacing machines.
1.  Document listing the commodities within a vehicle and their quantities 2.  Document listing all the railcars on a train and their contents
Manifest Train
Scheduled merchandise freight train
Merchandise Train
Freight train transporting freight other than bulk commodities
Master In-Bond
Mileage Allowance
Allowance based on mileage made by railroads to owners of privately owned freight cars
Multilevel Car
Long flatcar designed with multiple levels for transporting finished automobiles and trucks
Master Vessel operating Carrieer


North American Container System The North American Container System (NACS) is an Intermodal equipment program designed to facilitate the free interchange of domestic 48’ and 53’ containers between member railroads. NACS is an "transportation product", meaning that transportation costs do not include equipment detention costs. In other words, the customer is responsible for detention charges when the equipment is not moving on a participating NACS railroad system. Members of NACS program include BNSF, CN, CSXI, KCS, NS and CP
National Industrial Transportation League or NIT League National trade association of transportation providers
Arrival Notice or Notification Notice furnished to the consignee of the arrival of freight
Process whereby the railroad informs the drayage provider or shipper that a unit is available for pickup. The notification will place the move in a destination dwell status.
Notify Party
Party notified at the time a container or trailer is grounded from a train. Most notify parties are draymen.
Non-vessel operating common Carrier


Off-line Event
Shipments that occur on rail carriers other than BNSF
Station where rail movement begiins
Process of checking a container or trailer out of an intermodal facility. The process includes inspection of the unit, input of data into a computer system. Draymen at the out gate must indicate shipper, vehicle initial and number and assigned pick up security number.


Peak Season
Period of increased seasonal shipments on a railroad. Peak season for intermodal shipments is defined as September 1 to December 15. This coincides with the Thanksgiving and Christmas shipping season.
Per Diem
Charge made by a transportation line against another for the use of its cars based on a fixed rate per  day
Piece Count
Number of individual cases, packages or bundles in an intermodal trailer or container. This information is usually required when the intermodal unit is crossing international boundaries.
Transportation of a highway trailer on a railroad flat car
Sign affixed to a rail car or truck, indicating the hazardous designation of the product being transported in that vehicle
3-digit generic car grouping used by the BNSF
In interline moves, the amount of transportation and other charges are paid at the point of origin of the first rail carrier
Price Authority
1.  Contract or Ancillary 2.  (Exempt) Quote or Special Quote 3.  Exempt Memorandum or Circular 4.  Tariff
Permit to Transfer
28-foot trailer, used mostly in less-than-truckload business


Rail industry’s PC-based software that lets a customer input a bill of lading, which is then translated and transmitted as an EDI 404 transaction
Rail Controlled
System or Rail Controlled Equipment Railcar, trailer, or container owned or controlled by a railroad
Rail Foamer
Person who is a rail fanatic. Rail foamers enjoy train watching and keep railroad memorabilia
Rail Served
Facility that has rail service directly to the property
1.  Lifting of intermodal containers or trailers unto intermodal flatcars by special lift machines 2.  Slang word for an intermodal terminal where trailers and containers are lifted unto departing railcars or lifted off arriving railcarrs
Movement of lading from the intermodal ramp closest to the customer to the receivers from door (dock)
Movement of lading from the intermodal ramp closest to the customer to the closest intermodal ramp to the receiver
Situation where an independent or separate waybill is issued for each portion of a shipment rather than a single joint waybill, where the shipment is interchanged among competing railroads. On rebill traffic, a carrier’s waybill will identify either the actual origin rail station or the actual destination rail station but not both.
Reciprocal Switching
Switching done by competing railroads to place equipment to industries located on the railroad
Refrigerated boxcar
Regional Railroad
Non-Class I, line-haul freight railroad that operates at least 350 miles of road and/or has operating revenues of at least $40 million
Rate EDI Network This is the system at the AAR (Railinc) through which railroads electronically transmit freight transportation prices to each other. Only the carriers participating in the route are able to access confidential rates under the REN system.
Rail Industry Agreement It is a six-part pact signed by AAR Class 1 railroads and the American Shortline Association in 1998 that governs certain big railroads and small railroad activities. These activities include car supply, interchange services etc.
Roadway Property owned by a railroad over which tracks have been laid
Rule 11
Type of interline shipment where each railroad bills the customer separately. It is the default rate rule governing interline traffic where a joint-line rate is unavailable. Rule 11 must be indicated on the original bill of lading along with each price authority for the rail carriers involved in the movement. A cross-town transfer is not included on Rule 11 shipments that originate on BNSF.
Rule 260 Junction
5-byte On or off-junction station name Connecting station name. This information represents the beginning of service for intermediate and interline received rail shipmments
Run-through Train
Train interchanged between two roads with locomotive and cars


Safe Container Act (SCA)
Federal Highway Administration act relating to overload intermodal shipments. Under the act, carriers tendering shipments with actual gross cargo weight of over 29,000 pounds (or 14.5 tons) can certify the load by providing shipping instructions and other documents with certain SCA elements. The elements include weight certification, certifying party, certification date etc. The purpose is to minimize overweight vehicles on the highway and provide recourse for a motor carrier if fined for an overload shipment.
Safety Rating
DOT grants a safety rating to a carrier based primarily on a driver safety program audit and accident frequency. Applicable ratings are satisfactory, conditional and unsatisfactory.
Standard Carrier Alpha Code Code used for identifying truckers, railroads, and other conveyors
Train that operates as a shuttle with as many cars as two engines can haul
Shipment Notification
Notification that a shipment has physically departed the origin that is shown on the waybill or physically arrived at the destination on the waybill
Shipping Instructions
1.  Straight: A non-negotiable document. Surrender of the original is not required upon delivery of the freight unless necessary to identify consignee. 2.  Exchange: Bill of lading given in exchange for another 3.  Export: Bill of lading given to cover a shipment consigned to some foreign country 4.  Government: Special form of bill of lading used in making shipments for the account of the United States Government
Small railroad that originates or terminate traffic and participates in division of revenue. It is usually less than 100 miles in length. It is usually affiliated with or sold by a major railroad. An example of a BNSF shortline is Montana Rail Link (MRL).
1.  Expedited over-the-road service used for time-sensitive freight to meet service goals 2.  Dedicated train set cars and locomotives that cycle continuously between origins and destinations. For corn and wheat the trains are 110 cars. Also known as a unit train.
Lift equipment used in intermodal ramps. Sideloaders lift containers and trailers from the side of inbound or outbound trains rather than overhead.
Track adjacent to a main or secondary track for meeting or passing trains
Secondary Notify Party. Allows AMS participants to nominate up to eight other entities to receive a copy of the status notification for an individual bill of lading
Spine Car
Lightweight articulated car that is assembled in permanent consists of three or five platforms. Spine cars carry containers or trailers in single stack configuration
Station Point Location Code 4-digit station location code
Stack Car
Intermodal flat car specifically designed to place one container on top of another for better utilization and economics. Also referred to as a well car because the cars are depressed in the center to allow clearance of the double stacked containers when moving under low-lying structures. A single well stack car has a tare weight of about 27.2 tons.
Staggers Act
Passed by Congress in 1980, the Staggers Rail Act deregulated the rail industry and greatly enhanced the railroad industry's ability to compete with other modes of transportation.
Standing Spotting Instructions (SSI)
Contains data used by the waybill system to determine the proper standing spotting instructions from a consignee so that cars will be sent to correct destination. That instruction is then written to the waybill for routing to the proper delivery road, zone-track-spot, care of party, etc.
Station 3-3-3
9-byte abbreviated station name
Station Master
Book or file containing consolidated rail station numbers and nnames
Standard Transportation Commodity Code 7-digit reference code for every commodity shipped in transportation
Storage Charge
Charge assigned to the shipper or consignee for holding containers or trailers at an intermodal terminal beyond the free time allotted to them
Storage Track
Auxiliary track used for storage
Street Interchange
Transfer of financial responsibility of a unit from one trucking carrier to another on a date and time specified by the drayage firm in control of that container or by an IMC that has financial responsibility for that particular container
Street Time
Time a container or trailer is away from the possession of the railroad
Surface Transportation Board (STB)
Independent governmental adjudicatory body administratively housed within the DOT, responsible for the economic regulation of interstate surface transportation, primarily railroads, within the United States. The mission is to ensure that competitive, efficient, and safe transportation services are provided to meet the needs of shippers, receivers, and consumers.
Switch Fees
Railroads charge switch fees to other railroads it allows into a facility it serves. Unabsorbed charges will be added to the freight bill.
Movement of freight cars between two close locations. Typically invovles moving cars within a yard or from specific industry locations to a yard for placement on a train or vice versa.
System Equipment
Equipment owned or leased by a railroad. Each railroad considers its own equipment as system equipment


Tank Car
Any car used only for transporting liquids, liquefied gases, compressed gases, or solids that are liquefied or compressed prior to loading
Tare Weight
Weight of clean, empty equipment, i.e., the car contains no lading or packing and debris resulting from the lading
Pricing document that covers strictly regulated shipments. Each tariff is public record and is on file with the STB. These documents are usually not customer specific and are often used as reference for other prices created by a carrier. Tariffs allow customers to get consistency in pricing by comparing their situation to existing prices on record
Team Track
Side track on which cars are placed for the use of the public in loading or unloading of freight
Railroad facility used for handling freight and the receiving, classifying, assembling and dispatching of trains
Terminal Dwell Time
Average hours a car is at the specified terminal location expressed in hours. The measurement begins with a customer release, received interchange, or train arrival event and ends with a customer placement (actual or constructive), delivered interchange, or train departure event. Heavy, bad ordered, stored, and maintenance of way cars are generally excluded from the calculation.
Rate applicable from point of origin to point of destination. It may be a joint rate or a combination of two or more rates.
Track and Trace
Process of monitoring freight order, freight car or shipment through its transportation lifecycle. This includes events such as train arrival, train departure, shipment notification etc.
Track Lease
Customer may lease track from a railroad to spot or store their cars. The railroad usually maintains the track at the customer’s expense.
Trackage Rights
Rights that a railroad secures with a competing railroad to move freight over the foreign road trackage. The home road pays per car and mileage fees to the foreign road for trackage rights payments. The home road uses its own locomotives, crews, fuel etc.
Rectangular shaped box with permanent wheels attached for the transport of goods on rail, highway, or a combination of both
Trailing Ton
Total lading tons and tare tons of a train
Time that a unit is on the railroad. Intermodal transit starts from the ingate load at origin and goes until the notification at destination. Transit calculates the amount of time a railroad was in possession of a unit and how long it took to ship that unit from point A to point B.
Facility used for transferring shipments from truck to rail and vice versa
Shipments transferred from one transportation line to another, particularly from rail to a water carrier or vice versa
Truckload (TL)
1.  Shipment that fills a trailer or a container to its maximum capacity, either by weight or volume 2.  Carrier that accepts only truckload shipments
Railcar leasing company


1.  Carload unit (for non-intermodal traffic) 2.  Trailer or container unit (for intermodal traffic) 3.  Measure of rail volume
Unit Train
Freight trains moving great tonnages of a single bulk product between two points without intermediate yarding and switching. Such trains cut costs because they eliminate intermediate stops in yards and reduce cycle times. Also known as a shuttle.
United States Department of Agriculture


Want Date
Date and time that a rail shipment is wanted at a customer location
Document covering a shipment. A waybill shows the forwarding and receiving station, the names of consignor and consignee, the car initials and number, the routing, the description and weight of the commodity, instructions for special services, the rate, total charges, advances and waybill reference for previous services and the amount prepaid. Created from shipping instructions.


System of tracks with defined local boundaries, which provides for the making up of trains, storing of cars and other related functions
Yard Block
Group of cars classified for movement to the same yard
Yard Move
Train or rail cars ordered to move from one location to another in a rail yard


Zero Mileage
Car hire for privately owned freight cars that do not earn any mileage allowance to be paid to the private car owner