Old 11-07-2007, 02:01 AM   #1
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Default Train IDs

When you are out taking pictures what is the best way to get the ID for a train you just took a picture of? Most of the time I only hear they're ID used when getting a track warrant out of a yard. The rest of the time they use the engine number. My experience is mainly only with BNSF, but how does it work for other railroads?
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Old 11-07-2007, 02:40 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNDPilot
When you are out taking pictures what is the best way to get the ID for a train you just took a picture of? Most of the time I only hear they're ID used when getting a track warrant out of a yard. The rest of the time they use the engine number. My experience is mainly only with BNSF, but how does it work for other railroads?
CSX trains call signals (at least around here, DC area) and the call includes the train number.
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:15 AM   #3
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I get a lineup before I go railfanning...but I'm not going to say where I get it from
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Old 11-07-2007, 03:19 AM   #4
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NS calls out the train number as they approach the signal, something like "231 clear Worthington" CSX calls out the lead engine number, what track they are on, direction and the train number. The problem I have sometimes is I cannot understand a word the crew is saying.
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Old 11-07-2007, 04:37 AM   #5
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JRMDC I'm originally from VA and most of the time my experience with CSX is that they call out the locomotive number and not the train ID number. However I may have missed most of them as the last time I was in VA with my scanner was when I was beginning my railfanning hobby. R do remember now that I think about it that Amtrak always uses the engine number every time I have heard them.
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:26 AM   #6
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In my experience with BNSF your best bets are to:
1 - Know somebody "on the inside"
2 - Stand near the tracks when crews are doing rollbys, and hope they volunteer to give you the duplicate copy of their paperwork (which happened to me once, unfortunately it was a bare table train with 1 locomotive, so the freight manifest wasn't particularly interesting)
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRMDC
CSX trains call signals (at least around here, DC area) and the call includes the train number.

I think he means the alpha (ILBG2 XX, MGICB XX, ETC...)
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:51 AM   #8
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I have my ways with BNSF and CSX...
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Old 11-16-2007, 03:00 AM   #9
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I have a backup method if I miss something, but here in Southern WV, CSX crews call every signal one of two ways..

example 1

"G802-14 CSXT 4720 east on 2, gotta clear signal Possum Hollow.. out"

example 2

"CSXT 4720 east on 2, gotta clear signal Possum Hollow. G802-14 out"

occasionally they'll half butt the transmission, and not hold the receiver up close to their mouth, but generally it's easy to hear them.

and yes... the Alleghany Sub has a signal named possum hollow, not making that up!

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Old 11-16-2007, 03:17 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burner50
I think he means the alpha (ILBG2 XX, MGICB XX, ETC...)
Some railroads don't use just an alpha. CSX uses a letter followed by three numbers, as in Q450.

www.bullsheet.com, then click on Bulletin Board, then click on CSX Freight Trains, and there are the details, including info on every train
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Old 11-16-2007, 05:46 AM   #11
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CP trains are just 3 numbers, except for locals, passenger, and work trains.
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Old 11-16-2007, 06:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainboysd40
CP trains are just 3 numbers, except for locals, passenger, and work trains.
I am almost 100% positive CP uses more than just 3 numbers.
For example on Cn when we call signals we only use say "302 clear to Atwater"

But the whole number is much more complex.

CN uses this type of system:

CN uses an TAAABCDD system, where the T is the train type prefix (see list below,) AAA is the train number, B is the region it originated in (see second list below,) C indidcates the section (0 = advance section, 1 = regular, 2 = second) and DD is the date the train originated.

Train type prefixes:
A = 400-series short haul freight
B = 700- and 300-series potash
C = 700-series coal
E = 200-series priority freight/automotive
F = foreign detours and running rights
G = 800-series grain
H = CPR origin, shared running
K = 500-series transfers
L = 500-series locals
M = 300-series long haul freight
P = VIA passenger trains (001 - 099, 600-series)
Q = 100-series priority intermodal
R = 900-series roadswitchers (IC lines only)
S = 700-series sulphur
U = 700-series miscellaneous
W = work trains
X = extras

Regions:
1 = Atlantic
2 = St. Lawrence
3 = Great Lakes
4 = Prairie
5 = Pacific
6 = Michigan Division
7 = Central Division
8 = Wisconsin Division
9 = Central Division

Example: Train Q1489112 is priority intermodal train 148 (Chicago-Halifax,) originated in the Central Division, regular section
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Old 11-16-2007, 06:44 PM   #13
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Well, 3 numbers then the date. But who's counting? :P
Since you gave a list, I suppose I'm obliged to as well
100s - Priority intermodal/autoracks
200s - Lesser intermodal/merchandise
300s - Unit grain
400s - 'Regional' - ie long distance manifests.
500s - Local manifests
600s - Other unit trains (Potash, sulfur, etc)
700s - Overflow and detours
800s - Unit coal
900s - Foreign and non-revenue

Passenger trains use 2 numbers and a letter suffix.
xxA is Amtrak
xxB is a CP excursion
D and S are AMT
G is GO
R is RMR
V is VIA
W is WCE (Are we getting the hang of this?)

Locals use two numbers with a letter prefix to show the service area.
Axx and Cxx are Alberta
D is the NE US
F is Montreal area
G is Chicago area
H is St. Paul area
K and N are Saskatchewan
P is Manitoba
T is Southern Ontario
U is northern Ontaro
V is BC

For yard switchers, I don't know...
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Old 11-16-2007, 07:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNDPilot
JRMDC I'm originally from VA and most of the time my experience with CSX is that they call out the locomotive number and not the train ID number.
Then your not listening to the right CSX

As has already been said both CSX and NS call off symbols at Control Points and when contacting the dispatcher. I suppose you could confuse road number with train symbol if you were new because of the nature of system.

This thread address a question I have had for a while: do crews call off those long complex symbols the western roads use? I guess the answer is no.
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Old 11-16-2007, 11:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainboysd40
Well, 3 numbers then the date. But who's counting? :P
Since you gave a list, I suppose I'm obliged to as well
100s - Priority intermodal/autoracks
200s - Lesser intermodal/merchandise
300s - Unit grain
400s - 'Regional' - ie long distance manifests.
500s - Local manifests
600s - Other unit trains (Potash, sulfur, etc)
700s - Overflow and detours
800s - Unit coal
900s - Foreign and non-revenue

Passenger trains use 2 numbers and a letter suffix.
xxA is Amtrak
xxB is a CP excursion
D and S are AMT
G is GO
R is RMR
V is VIA
W is WCE (Are we getting the hang of this?)

Locals use two numbers with a letter prefix to show the service area.
Axx and Cxx are Alberta
D is the NE US
F is Montreal area
G is Chicago area
H is St. Paul area
K and N are Saskatchewan
P is Manitoba
T is Southern Ontario
U is northern Ontaro
V is BC

For yard switchers, I don't know...
Also, a '2' in front of a CP train symbol indicates a 2nd-section reroute. (e.g. CP 2-291)
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Old 11-17-2007, 03:41 AM   #16
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How could I forget that! (And after seeing a 4-108 the other day!)
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:38 PM   #17
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NS trains almost always identify themselves over the radio by train number exclusively and they call signals. CSX (in my area) is more of a crap shoot. Sometimes crews call symbols, but some crews just call the engine number. CSX rules state they are supposed to ID themselves by both engine number AND symbol when calling signals.

Anyone have a clue as to why UP trains don't call signals though? I found that to be a bit odd when I was out in Texas last month.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BartY
Anyone have a clue as to why UP trains don't call signals though? I found that to be a bit odd when I was out in Texas last month.

They do.

They call out any signal that may require them to stop at the next signal, be a restricted speed passing the next signal or when stopping for a signal that requires stopping.

At least they are supposed to.
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Old 12-12-2007, 04:59 AM   #19
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i gotta say NS has the easiesy symboling system to understand.

series extras
100-mixed interdivisonal M
200-(200-239 stacks, 240-269 Roadrailer, 270-299 Autoracks) I
300-mixed only operating one division "an over the road local" L
400- Grain G
500- unit Steel, coke etc. U
600 coal ?
700 coal ?
800 coal ?
900 special trains. S

Letters replacing the first digit in a symbol are Extra movements,
Letters replacing the last digit are symbols added after conrail came along.
So now an old conrail train symbols ELSE might be like 16M now, i know that not it but its an example.
Locals have weird symbols but I heard NS must use some combination of three digit spaces when making symbols.
Even numbered trains are North and East bounds and Odd numbers are West and southbound.
Amtrak trains sometime have symbols like 023 and 049 when Amtrak keeps their own symbols.
IF i made a mistake please address it, because it will help me out as well, thank you.
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
i gotta say NS has the easiesy symboling system to understand.
Huh? Numbers tell you nothing other than what type of train. Where's it going? Maybe I'm just partial to BNSF:

H-PASNTW

High-priority manifest - PASco to North ToWN

C-SCMGFA

Loaded Coal - Spring Creek Mine to Grand Forks

First letter = type of train
Next three = origin station
Last three = destination station

Of course, BNSF adds in a single 1-9 digit and another two digit for calendar day of origin, so you might see:

H-PASNTW2 12

But it's the first seven letters that matter!
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:44 PM   #21
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It's a piece of cake for me. Trains on the Albany Division have to call EVERY signal, including intermediate signals (needless to say, my radio never shuts up for more than a few seconds at a time). In addition, it's pretty easy to tell based on the power, consist, time, and direction generally (IE if I see a WB stack train between 3 and 7 PM with a bunch of Pacer and APL containers, it's none other than Q157). Worst case scenario, I have to make a phone call to get the symbol.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:59 PM   #22
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I'm with Ween. NS' system is confusing. I like to know where it started and where it's going. CSX's system isn't too bad once you get the basics out of the way.
Q-Codes Type
Q100 Intermodal
Q200 Automotive
Q300 Mix North E->W Corridor
Q600 Mix Cross Corr.
3rd digit even is EB. 3rd digit odd is WB.
Not sure on NB and SB. Don't fan a N-S Line.
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:16 PM   #23
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NB/SBs are grouped with EB/WB. The theory is that even if a train starts in Atlanta and ends in Pittsbrurgh, even though it went 600 miles north and 60 miles west, its still a westbound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EMTRailfan
I'm with Ween. NS' system is confusing. I like to know where it started and where it's going. CSX's system isn't too bad once you get the basics out of the way.
Q-Codes Type
Q100 Intermodal
Q200 Automotive
Q300 Mix North E->W Corridor
Q600 Mix Cross Corr.
3rd digit even is EB. 3rd digit odd is WB.
Not sure on NB and SB. Don't fan a N-S Line.
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Old 12-13-2007, 05:52 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EMTRailfan
I'm with Ween. NS' system is confusing. I like to know where it started and where it's going. CSX's system isn't too bad once you get the basics out of the way.
Q-Codes Type
Q100 Intermodal
Q200 Automotive
Q300 Mix North E->W Corridor
Q600 Mix Cross Corr.
3rd digit even is EB. 3rd digit odd is WB.
Not sure on NB and SB. Don't fan a N-S Line.
Nothing confusing abou the UP...

ILBG2 01 - Intermodal from LB (long beach) to G2 (Global 2 intermodal facility outside of chicago 01- originating date


or QNPCH 01 Quality manifest from North Platte to Chicago from the 1st
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Old 12-13-2007, 08:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdirelan87
NB/SBs are grouped with EB/WB. The theory is that even if a train starts in Atlanta and ends in Pittsbrurgh, even though it went 600 miles north and 60 miles west, its still a westbound.
Are you sure you didn't mean to say NB/EB and WB/SB are grouped accordingly? NB and EB are even numbered, while WB and SB are odd numbered.
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