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.


See Third Party Logistics


See Association of American Railroads


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.

Account Of Party

If a third party logistics or service provider acts on behalf of a shipper or carrier, this is the person or entity for whom the service provider is acting. Also referred to as Notify Party. Party notified at the time a container or trailer is grounded from a train. Most notify parties are draymen.


See Automatic Clearing House


See Automatic Car Identification


Automated Commercial System

Actual Placement

Car placed at a customer location waiting for loading or unloading. Also known as Active Placement.

Advance Shipment Notification

A message from a manufacturer to BNSF in EDI format that a shipment is ready for movement.


See Automatic Equipment Identification

Alignment Direction

The direction or orientation of the car on which the shipment is moved. Can be one of N (north), S (south), E (east), or W (west).

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.


See Automated Manifest 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).


See Actual Placement

Arrival Date

The date the shipment arrived at an in transit location or the final  destination, in mm-dd hh.mm dow format (24-hour clock). Example: 11-26 01.31 Fri.

Arrival Grace Period

Refers to a period of time (in hours) added to the transit time of a shipment, unit, or train when calculating the on-time performance. The typical grace period for intermodal trains at  BNSF is about 48 hours.


See Advance Shipment Notification

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.

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 Manifest System

Means of speeding the flow of cargo through an electronic release notification system.

Automatic Car Identification

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.

Automatic Clearing House

Electronic means of receiving payment for linehaul charges from customers.

Automatic Equipment Identification

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.


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.

Bad Order Flag

Indicator denoting that the car on which the shipment is moved is in Bad Order status. Also referred to as Bad Order, or B.O. indicator. Y = Bad Ordered.


Stone or gravel placed in a roadbed to provide a sturdy surface for the track and to facilitate drainage.

Bare Table

Intermodal train moving empty intermodal equipment.

Batch #

An undefined amount within a Unique Shipping Number (USN) given to the BNSF by the customer to help segment the amount of product in one USN.

Beneficial Owner

A person or legal entity who owns or has title to the freight being transported. Beneficial owners may use freight third parties such as Intermodal Carriers (IMCs) to negotiate transportation services and rates on their behalf. This term distinguishes them from the shipper or consignor.

Bill of Lading

See Shipping Instructions

Bill of Lading Error

The flag on the waybill indicating that there is an error in the billing provided by the customer.

Bill of Lading ID

The identifier for the shipments bill of lading. Also referred to as BOL number.

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.


See Bracing


The four-digit identifier used by BNSF for a pool of cars assigned to a specific loading location.


Bill of Lading; see Shipping Instructions.

Bond Status

The code indicating the status of the bond used to secure credit for payment of the shipment. Valid codes are:  IB - In BNSF Bond, IS - In Shippers Bond, NB - Not in Bond.

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

Booking Number

The identifier for the reservation or booking for a shipment with a portal shipper (air or sea). This number is to be obtained from the shipper at the time of making a booking for shipment.

Box Car

Enclosed car used for general service and for freight that must be protected from the weather.


Wooden, metal, or other approved support to keep shipments in place on railcars or within containers and trailers.

Bridge Move

Enclosed car used for general service and for freight that must be protected from the weather.


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)


See Customs Automated Manifest Interface Requirements


(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

Expenditures that have future benefit and thus are recorded as assets.

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 Initial

The 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.

Car Initial & Number

Initial and number given to a railcar by the AAR in conjunction with owner's initials as a means of car identification. Sometimes referred to as CARINO.

Car Kind

A 3-digit alphanumeric code used to identify and group cars with similar characteristics. First character indicates the type of equipment (i.e., hopper, tank); second character defines the car's capabilities (i.e., all-purpose, double stack, single platform); third character indicates the type of units the railcar can hold (i.e., 48-foot trailers).

Car Kind — AAR

A 4-character alphanumeric code used to identify and group cars with similar characteristics. An ID system used by the American Association of Railroads.

Car Kind — Abbr

A 1-character code that serves as an abbreviation for the value in the Car Kind field.

Car Kind — Flat

A 3-character alphanumeric code that identifies the flat car type. This field can indicate special service codes or fittings, such as bulkheads, multiple levels, etc.

Car of, Care of Party

The person or entity that accepts shipment delivery on behalf of the beneficial owner or consignee. The receiver of rail cars on behalf of the actual consignee (the physical delivery point).

Car Sequence Number

The 3-digit sequential identifier for a specific car in a yard  or as part of a train. If in a yard, this number represents the yard, track, and spot. If part of a train, it represents the sequential number from front to rear.


See Car Initial & Number


Shipment of not less than 5 tons of one commodity.

Carrier - Current

The initials or indicator of the rail serving carrier currently moving the shipment.

Carrier - Next

The initials or indicator of the rail serving carrier which is scheduled to move the shipment after or subsequently to the current carrier.


Customs and Border Protection


See Customer Destination Instructions

Certificate of Transportation

Certificate of Transportation. An agreement to supply grain cars to Shippers at specific locations and times.  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.


A special content provider that provides useful views of the BNSF.com applications, permitting you to use different features of applications or tools as a functional whole.


The identifying code for the unit if it is a chassis, in the format  defined by AAR. A chassis is the 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.


Demand, supported by evidence, showing the claimant has sustained a loss through the negligence of a carrier. The principal kinds are:  (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 1 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.


Limiting dimensions of a rail shipment that allow it to clear tunnels and bridges.


See Container on Flatcar


In interline moves, the amount of transportation and other charges are paid at the point of termination of the final rail carrier.


A category of rail cargo usually transported in bulk.  Commodities are often identified by the Standard Transportation Commodity Code (STCC), which can contain up to six alphanumeric characters.

Connecting Carrier

A carrier that has a direct physical connection with another or forming a connecting link between two or more carriers.


A railroad or station at which a rail carrier interchanges traffic.


The person or entity receiving the shipment at its destination. Person(s) or firm(s) to whom the shipment is destined.


The person or entity sending the rail shipment at its origin. Person(s) or firm(s) from whom the shipment originated.


The make-up of a freight train in terms of the car types. A list of locomotive units and cars in the train.

Constructive Placement

A car that cannot be placed for loading or unloading due to some disability on the part of a shipper or receiver. The constructive placed car is subject to demurrage charges, the same as if it was actually placed.


A 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

The movement of a container on a railroad flat car. This movement is made without the container being mounted on a chassis.

Contract Error

Contract errors occur when the contract quote provided by the customer to BNSF does not match the billing details for a shipment. BNSF does not allow movement of shipments with contract errors.

Contract ID

A defined rate for a shipment, specifically within the parameters  identified by a Rate Authority or other agreement. Contract IDs are usually specified for carload shipments, while Contract Quotes are associated with intermodal shipment.

Contract Quote

A defined rate for a shipment, specifically within the parameters identified by a Rate Authority or other agreement. Contract quotes are usually specific to an intermodal customer, as opposed to Contract IDs, which are associated with carload shipments, Contract quotes can be used  only for exempt shipment situations.

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.


See Certificat of Transportation


See Constructive Placement

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.

Current Location

Last reported location of the train on which the shipment is moved.

Current Location State

The 2-character abbreviation for the state in which the shipment is currently located.

Customer 6-3-3

The abbreviated 12-digit customer name.

Customer Destination Instructions

The rail location of a customer’s facility.

Customer Reference Number

The key to the customer reference file, which contains the customers who provide services to or use the services of BNSF. Customer information is provided by the AAR and gathered internally. In the BNSF system, the customer reference file contains information about a company which may have many customer locations. Each of these locations is a physical address containing possibly multiple mailing addresses and/or a patron code for credit billing.

Customs Automated Manifest Interface Requirements

Specific procedures for the importing trade communities that are interested in participating in the AMS.

Customs Broker

The company or individual licensed by the Treasury Department to act on behalf of importers/exporters in handling U.S. customs transactions.

Cutoff Time

The 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

A 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.

Dealer Code

A code that identifies a car dealer or group of dealers to which a shipment of vehicles is being made.

Deck Position

If the freight is shipped on a decked car, this is the deck designator where the shipment is located.

Dedicated Train

A train that, by design, transports a dedicated commodity or type of cars. In the case of intermodal shipments trains only carry trailers or containers or both.


(1) A penalty charge assessed by railroads for the detention of cars by shippers or receiversof 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

The 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.


A term used when rolling equipment leaves the rail tracks.


Lifting of intermodal containers or trailers off intermodal flatcars by special lift machines.

Destination (Non BNSF)

The customer and station not within the BNSF system where rail movement of the shipment ends. The customer is identified by 633 and the station by city/town and two-character state abbreviation.

Destination (Rail)

The destination station for the shipment, identified by city/town and two-character state abbreviation. For intermodal shipments, this may not be the final destination.

Destination/Destination 333, ST

The station within the BNSF system where rail movement of the shipment terminates, identified by city/town and two-character state abbreviation.


A 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

The amount of time that a vehicle detained due to improper or incomplete shipping instructions can remain at an intermodal facility without incurring detention charges.


See Damage Free

Distributed Power

Addition of a locomotive at the back of a train.


A 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 customers front door or dock to the destination intermodal ramp closest to the receiver.


See Department of Transportation


(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.

Double Track

Parallel sets of main line tracks typically found in areas with high densities of traffic.


See Distributed Power


Dray. Transportation of intermodal freight over-the-road from a rail head to a customer’s facility. There are 6 types of drayage:    (1) Shuttle Drayage: Movement of an intermodal unit either loaded or empty from a hub to another parking lot because the railroad runs out of room at the hub.  (2) Expedited Drayage: Special movement of an intermodal unit over-the-road to get it there on time. This exceptional drayage usually involves time-sensitive freight.  (3) Crosstown or Inter-Carrier Drayage: Dray movement of an intermodal unit \"across town\" to the intermodal hub of a competing or interchange rail carrier.  (4) IMX or Intra-Carrier Drayage: Movement of an intermodal unit from a carrier's rail hub to the same carrier's intermodal hub. An IMX dray extends the reach of an intermodal hub.  (5) Door-to-door Drayage: Retail dray involving over-the-road movement of a unit to a customer location.  (6) Pier Drayage: Over-the-road movement of an intermodal unit from a carrier’s rail hub to a port’s dock or pier.


Person employed to pick up or drop off a container or trailer at an intermodal terminal.


See Electronic Data Interchange

EDI 323

EDI 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

EDI Bill of Lading. 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 410

EDI Rail Carrier Freight Details and Invoice. This transaction set can be used to provide detailed information of changes associated with a rail movement. The information is provided by a rail carrier and is sent to the freight payer.

EDI 417

EDI Rail Carrier Waybill Interchange. The EDI transaction set used in transmitting rail carrier waybill interchange information. This transaction set can be used to provide the rail carrier with detailed movement instruction pertinent to a rail carrier shipment and is used by all Class 1 rail carriers in the United States and Canada.

EDI 418

EDI Rail Advance Interchange Consist. The EDI transaction set can be used to transmit advanced information on equipment being interchanged to a connecting carrier, from a consignor or to a consignee.

EDI 456

EDI Railroad Equipment Inquiry or Advice. The EDI transaction set providing multiple functions in support of a wide variety of tracing and monitoring functions including: Waybill Contents, Trip Plan Contents, and Event Data.

EDI 622

EDI Intermodal Ramp Activity. This transaction set can be used to transmit specific intermodal ramp activities to consignors and other carriers or shipper agents, when the activity takes place. This activity includes in-gate, out-gate, train arrival, train departure and deramp.

EDI 821

EDI Payment Order/Remittance Advice. This transaction can be an order to a financial institution to make a payment to a payee. The remittance advice can go directly from a payer to a payee through a financial institution, or through a third party agent.

EDI 824

EDI Application Advice. 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

Functional Acknowledgement. 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

The 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

Device that is installed at the rear of the train to transmit information to the train engineer.


See End-of-Train device


An item of rolling stock identified by roadway initials and number.

Equipment Initial/Number

Initial and number given to an equipment item by the AAR in conjunction with the owners initials as a means of identification.

Equipment Length

Length (in feet and inches) of equipment ordered or used to transport shipment. The format is FFFII, where FFF is feet and II is inches; the range for II is 00 through 11.

Equipment Location Code

A 6-digit number that identifies a geographic location of a station where the equipment is located.

Equipment Request Number

The identifier for the Equipment Request, by which customers can reserve equipment for placement by equipment type and on a specific date.

Equipment Want Date

Part of an Equipment Request, the date the equipment is requested for placement, in yyyy-mm-dd format.


The Estimated Time of Arrival, based on trip plan plus the Customer Estimated Time to Availability, which is the time when the shipment is available for the customer to pick-up.Note: The format  for this field may vary; it will display either in yyyy-mm-dd hh.mm format or in mm-dd hh.mm dow format (24-hour clock). Example: 11-26 01.31 Fri.

ETA - Deramp

The estimated date and time when the shipping container will be deramped, or removed from the flatcar, in mm-dd hh.mm dow format (24-hour clock). Example: 11-26 01.31 Fri.

Event Code

The code or abbreviation for a significant occurrence in the transportation life cycle for a shipment. Event Codes are further qualified by Event Status Codes.

Event Code - Status

The code or abbreviation for an event that changes or modifies the Event Code. Also referred to as the Event Status Code.

Event Date

The date the event noted by the Event Code occurred.    Note: The format for this field may vary; it will display either in yyyy-mm-dd hh.mm format or in mm-dd hh.mm dow format (24-hour clock). Example: 11-26 01.31 Fri.


See Freight All Kinds

Federal Railroad Administration

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 laws.

Final 633

The ultimate consignee or the final destination customer.

Final Ramp

The 5-character alphanumeric code that identifies the final facility or location within the shipment's transportation life cycle where vehicle loading or unloading will occur.


A flatcar, specifically the initial and number given to a flatcar by the AAR in conjunction with the owners initials as a means of identification.

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.


See Federal Railroad Administration

Free Time

The 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

(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

The 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 Party

The person or entity identified as being responsible for paying freight or movement charges.

Freight Station Accounting Code

The 5- or 6-digit reference numbers used by railroads in timetables to identify their stations.


See Freight Station Accounting Code

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.


The station or point through which freight commonly moves from one territory or carrier to another.

Goal Date

The average customer goal time in hours for shipment of freight. This goal does not include grace periods.


A freight car with sides and no roof.


The degree of inclination of a railroad track or slope.

Grade Crossing

The crossing of highways, railroad tracks, or pedestrian walks or combinations of these on the same level.

Grade Separation

The highway or railroad crossing using an underpass or overpass.

Haz Mat

See Hazardous Material

Haz Mat Prof

See Hazardous Materical Profile

Hazardous Material

The 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.

Hazardous Material Profile

Indicator denoting that hazardous material is present on the equipment. Y = hazardous material is present.

Hopper Car

A freight car with its floor sloping to one or more doors designed for unloading the contents (such as coal or ore) by gravity.


A measure of power. One HP = The force that will raise 33,000 pounds by 1 foot in 1 minute.

Hours STN

The number of hours a unit has been at a location/station.

Hours to Goal

The number of hours until the goal date and time. Goal date and time is not the ETA - CETA and often will differ from ETA date and time.


See Horsepower

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.


See Intermodal Association of North America


See Intermodal Marketing Company


See Intermodal Marketing Extension

In Gate

(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.

In System

When a unit is operated within and under the control of the BNSF system.

Interchange Agreement

An 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

An industry trade association representing the combined interests of intermodal freight transportation companies.

Intermodal Marketing Company

A 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

An intermodal facility that provides over-the-road transportation to and from a BNSF intermodal hub.

Intermodal Plan Code

The code denoting the plan for intermodal service movement, including type of equipment and service level. Also referred to as service code or plan code.

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.

Jeopardy Status

A code indicating if the unit is in jeopardy of failing service. F = fail service, G = good for service.

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.


The station where railroads interchange railcars at a common point or within the switching limits over their own lines, or intermediate line or lines.

L/E, Load Empty, Load Empty Status

Loaded/Empty indicator.  L = Loaded, E = Empty.

Lading Tons

Lading, Lading Weight, Tons or TonnageFreight volume in tons excluding the weight of the equipment it moves in.


Rail landbridge. 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 routes.

Less Than Truckload

(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

The 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.

Load Limit

The maximum Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) weight, in pounds, that can be loaded onto a unit, based on hitch capability. Often referred to as WLL (Working Load Limit).

Local Move

Traffic originating and terminating on a railroad's lines without any interchange. The one carrier serves both the origin and destination station.


A facility identified within the system by a city name and state.

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 accidents.

Lot Location

The current lot and row where the unit is positioned at its current location. Examples: A 7, C 2, D 8. This information helps to expedite unit pick up or out gate transactions.


See Less Than Truckload

Maintenance of Way

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.


The maker of the product or material that makes up the shipment.

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.


See Maintenance of Way

Multilevel Car

Long flatcar designed with multiple levels for transporting finished automobiles and trucks.


Master Vessel Operating Carrier


See North American Container System

National Industrial Transportation League

National trade association of transportation providers. Also known as NIT League.

New/Used Code

A code indicating that the vehicles that make up the shipment are new or used. N = New, U = Used.


See National Industrial Transportation League

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 \"unbundled\" 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.


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.


See National Industrial Transportation League


Non-vessel Operating Common Carrier

Offline Event

When a unit is operated outside of the BNSF system.

Origin (Non-BNSF)

The station outside the BNSF system where rail movement begins, identified by city/town and two-character state abbreviation.

Origin/Origin 333, St

The station where rail movement begins in the BNSF system, identified by city/town and two-character state abbreviation.

OT5 Number

A 7-character sequential number assigned by the OT-5 application that provides BNSF approval for owners or other parties to load private cars onto BNSF rail lines. OT-5 numbers are obtained by submitting a form to BNSF listing the car ID numbers (CARINO) to be approved; once assigned, the OT-5 number indicates approval. Typically, OT-5 numbers are valid for one year.

Out Gate

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.

Out of Route

A longer or less competitive route.

Payer of Freight

The person or entity with responsibility for paying charges associated with the shipment.

Peak Season

A 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

The charge made by a transportation line against another for the use of its cars based on a fixed rate per day.

Per Diem Relief

Nullification of a charge made by a transportation line against another for the use of its cars.

Permit Number

The Car Order permit number for grain singles reflects the last seven digits of the COT number.

Pick Up Number

The 6-character alphanumeric code used by drayage or other conveyors to identify a shipment or lot for customer delivery. Also used by BNSF for outgate processing. Pick Up Numbers are generated from the current timestamp or from part of the bill of lading number.

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.


The 3-digit generic car grouping used by the BNSF.


The 7-digit numeric code assigned to pools of cars reported to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).


The information associated with a customer account, which typically includes information about the customer type, facilities at customer locations, valid origin and destination locations, etc.


Permit To Transfer


A 28-foot trailer, used mostly in less-than-truckload business.


The rail industry’s PC-based software that lets customres input bilsl of lading, which is then translated and transmitted as an EDI 404 transaction.

Rail Controlled

When a unit is under movement control of BNSF or another party.

Rail Foamer

Person who is a rail fanatic. Rail foamers enjoy train watching and keep railroad memorabilia.

Rail Industry Agreement

A 6-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.

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 railcars.


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.

Ramp Code

An identifier provided by the customer for a facility or location where loading or unloading will occur. The standard format is five characters; the first two characters are alphabetic, and the last three characters are numeric.

Rate Authority

The identifier of up to 10 characters for a document that contains rate information, such as a quote, FAK, contract, allowance quote, or surcharge quote. This document contains the price authority level information and may contain one or more Matrices. It is the pricing document provided to customers.

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.


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.


The consignee or company receiving shipment at destination.

Reciprocal Switching

Switching done by competing railroads to place equipment to industries located on the railroad.


(1) Reloading the contents of a railcar, van, or container at a station to enable resorting for export or import .  (2) Any change, other than a change in route, made in a consignment before the arrival of goods at their billed destination.  (3) Any change made in a consignment after the arrival of goods at their billed destination when the change is accomplished under conditions that make it subject to the reconsignment rules and charges of the carrier.

Regional Railroad

A 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.

Release To Party

The person or entity identified in the Shipping Instructions or Special Instruction who is authorized by the shipper to take delivery of the shipment.


See Rate EDI Network


See Rail Industry Agreement


Property owned by a railroad over which tracks have been laid.

Rule 11

A 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

A 5-byte on- or off-junction station name  Connecting station name. This information represents the beginning of service for intermediate and interline received rail shipments.

Run-Through Train

A train interchanged between two roads with locomotive and cars.

Safety Rating

The 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.


See Standard Carrier Alpha Code


A train that operates as a shuttle with as many cars as two engines can haul.

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.

Service Level

A range of schedules and service-assurance options offered by BNSF to its customers. Current service levels include:  Expedited, Premium, Value.

Shipment Notification

A notification that a shipment has physically departed the origin that is shown on the waybill or physically arrived at the destination on the waybill.


A consignor or company or customer shipping via rail at origin.

Shipping Instructions

Bill-of-Lading (BOL). A shipping form that is both a receipt for property and a contract for delivery of goods by a carrier. The principal bills of lading are:  (1) Straight: A non-negotiable document. Surrender of the original is not required upon delivery of the freight unless necessary to identify consignee.  (2) Order: A negotiable document. Surrender of the original property endorsed is required by transportation lines upon delivery of the freight, in accordance with its terms.  (3) Clean: Either a Straight or Order Bill of Lading in which the transportation company acknowledges receipt of the property without noting any exceptions as to shortage or damage to the property received.  (4) Exchange: Bill of lading given in exchange for another.  (5) Export: Bill of lading given to cover a shipment consigned to some foreign country.  (6)Government: Special form of bill of lading used in making shipments for the account of the United States Government.

Short Haul

(1) Short move that is usually under 1000 miles.  (2) Process by which an interchange carrier changes gateways to shorten the distance of the move for the other interchange carriers and hence reduce revenues paid to them.


A 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.


See Secondary Notify Party

Spine Car

A lightweight-articulated car that is assembled in permanent consists of three or five platforms. Spine cars carry containers or trailers in single stack configuration.


See Station Point Location Code


To spot a car. To position a car in a designated location usually for loading or unloading. This is typically at a customer location.


A track extending out from the main track that usually serves customers.


See Standing Spotting Instructions

Stack Car

An 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

An 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.

Standard Carrier Alpha Code

A code used to identify truckers, railroads and other conveyors.

Standard Transportation Commodity Code

A seven-digit, industry-standard code that identifies a specific commodity.

Standing Spotting Instructions

An instruction containing 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

The BNSF 9-byte abbreviated station name.

Station Master

Book or file containing consolidated rail station numbers and names.

Station Point Location Code

The BNSF 4-digit station location code.


The Request Code, Status Code, or Hold Code for a particular equipment item.


See Surface Transportation Board


See Standard Transportation Commodity Code

Storage Charge

A charge assigned to the shipper or consignee for holding containers or trailers at an intermodal terminal beyond the free time allotted to them .

Storage Day

The date on which storage charges begin accruing for a unit. Charges are based on the number of storage days accrued. A storage day is a 24-hour period beyond the free time or grace period allotted to a shipper or consignee to accept delivery of a shipment.

Storage Track

Auxiliary track used for storage.

Street Interchange

The 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

The time a container or trailer is away from the possession of the railroad.

Stripe Direction

The orientation of cars to accommodate automated loading and unloading  of bulk shipments. Most automated loading equipment requires cars to be oriented in a specific direction in order to access the features of the car, and therefore, trains being loaded or unloaded by such equipment require cars with the appropriate stripe direction. Can be one of EB or NB.

Surface Transportation Board

An 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 STB's mission is to ensure that competitive, efficient, and safe transportation services are provided to meet the needs of shippers, receivers and consumers.

Switch Code

Standard code for the movement of freight cars between two close locations. Typically involves moving cars within a yard or from specific industry locations to a yard for placement on a train or vice versa.

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.


The 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

The equipment owned or leased by a railroad. Each railroad considers its own equipment as system equipment.

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.


The track and sequence number on the track where a flatcar is positioned at its current location.

Train, Train Symbol

The code that identifies a specific train and is used to locate cars, units, or shipments. Train IDs consist of four fields:  Type - Train type, based on the commodity being transported, or the speed the train needs to move. Valid values range from A to Z. Symbol - A combination of carrier interchange and the number of trains out that day. Example: The first train for CSXT is CSXT1. Day - The day of the month the train departed from origin location, in mm-dd format. Schedule ID - A value from A to Z.


A facility used for transferring shipments from truck to rail and vice versa.


The process where a shipment travels from your business by truck to a transload facility. It is then loaded onto a railcar and travels to another transload facility near its destination city. Once it is unload from the railcar, it travels by truck to its final destination.


The four-character symbol for the trucking or drayage firm completing intermodal movement of the shipment.


The identifier for a shipping container or other item of equipment used for intermodal shipping, identified by initial and number similar to car initial and number (CARINO).

Unit Count

The number of units specified on the lead waybill for a shipment.

USN, Unique Shipment Number.

A way to track specific items in a shipment. The USN may be any alphanumeric code the customer wants to use to track shipment items. This value is assigned when shipping instructions are created.

Vehicle Type Code

The type of vehicle being shipped, e.g. TRUCK, AUTOMOBILE, etc.


The four-character alphabetic code that identifies the ship on which the unit is scheduled to be shipped.

Vin Count

The number of vehicles associated with the unit. Click the value in this field to display a report of the exact VINs shipped with the container.

Vin, VIN, Vehicle Identification Number

The 17-character alphanumeric designator that identifies vehicles which make up a shipment.


Identifier for the unique passage the vessel is scheduled to make with the shipment.


A document that describes and authorizes a shipment on the railroad. Basic waybill information includes the equipment and commodity being moved, the shipper, receiver, origin, destination and route.

WGT Gross, Gross Weight

The total weight, in pounds or tons, of the unit, including both the unit itself and the lading or cargo weight.

WGT Net, Net Weight

The total weight, in pounds or tons, of the lading or cargo associated with the unit.

WGT Tare, Tare, Tare Weight

The weight, in pounds or tons, of the unit in a clean and empty condition.


The track zone and bay location where the shipment is stored while awaiting inspection or pick up.

ZTS, ZTS Destination, Zone/Track/Spot

The location of a unit in a yard or destination location based on the track, zone, and spot information. Used to identify where shipments should be placed.