Saturday, February 27, 2010

Transport: Fun with Reporting Marks

"BRAN" reporting marks, belonging to the Brandon Corporation, were noted in a passing Union Pacific train at Pendleton, Oregon on 29-December-2009

TORONTO, ONTARIO - With freight trains becoming increasingly lengthy in an attempt at efficiency, sometimes waiting at a crossing for a train to pass can be a significant wait. There's something interesting to do as the train passes, though. Look closely at the "reporting marks" on the side of each passing car. Registered with the Association of American Railroads (AAR), they indicate who owns the car, and sometimes can be quite amusing.

All of the following reporting marks are ones I have actually seen in the past five years or so:
  • ABOX - Used for certain (plug door) boxcars in a "Railbox" pool owned by the TTX Corporation
  • AJAX - Agramericas, Incorporated, not Colgate-Palmolive
  • BAR - Bangor & Aaroostook Railway, a defunct railroad in Maine
  • BRAN - Brandon Corporation, a freight car leaser
  • BS - Birmingham Southern Railroad, an Alabama shortline railroad
  • CAGY - Columbus and Greenville Railway, a Mississippi shortline railroad
  • CHEX - Equistar Chemicals, not General Mills
  • COP - Central of Prineville Railway, an Oregon shortline railroad
  • CORP - Central Oregon and Pacific, a regional railroad in California and Oregon
  • GRR - Georgetown Railroad, a Texas shortline railroad
  • ICE - Iowa, Chicago & Eastern, a regional railroad
  • KYLE - Kyle Railroad Company, a shortline railroad in Kansas and Colorado
  • MET - Modesto & Empire Traction, a California shortline railroad
  • OUCH - Oachita Railroad, an Arkansas shortline railroad
  • PAL - Paducah & Louisville Railroad, a Kentucky shortline railroad
  • RUT - Rutland Railroad, now part of the Vermont Rail System
  • SERA - Sierra Railroad Company, a California shortline railroad
  • SLGG - Sidney & Lowe Railroad, now used by Progress Rail Services, a rail car leaser
  • TOE - Texas, Oklahoma & Eastern Railroad, a short line
  • WE - Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Company, an Ohio shortline
If one gets curious about a reporting mark seen while looking for a "fun" one, there are many sites on-line to find out what they mean. One of my favorites is Ian Cranstone's, which shows previous owners of the marks as well as the current owner, which often sheds light on what it originally meant. Have fun the next time you have to wait for a train to pass!

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