Railroad Reporting Marks

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The global business market and manufacturing base is truly mindboggling. Literally millions of businesses, both big and small are working every day to keep our economy moving forward. Handling this commerce are the transportation companies of America….

The first thing a revisionist might tell you is that railroading is not what it used to be and they’re right. Rolling stock is no longer the billboard of the company it served and freight cars no longer sport flashy and breezy slogans like Super Chief, Silver Meteor and We Can Handle It. But a close look at the reporting marks on today’s railroad cars will show you that railroading today is just as diverse as its ever been, even if it’s not as colorful anymore.

The key to understanding this diversity is the cars reporting mark. The letters you see on the left side over (or under) the cars road number. Think of the reporting mark as the cars “name” (just like your name). Think of the road number of each car like your Social Security number. This is how every freight car is identified and tracked throughout the network.

This is especially important in today’s railroading as many freight cars riding the rails have reporting marks that DON’T match the actual name on the car…. These are called “patched” cars. Patching occurs when a car is sold (or sometimes leased) to another private company and/or railroad. More likely than not, the new entity won’t feel that spending the money necessary to give the car a full-on paint job will be cost effective and will, instead, simply slap on a new reporting mark and (maybe) a number.

Although this car is painted for the Minnesota, Dakota & Western (MDW) it’s been “patched” for the Providence & Worcester (WRWK) Railroad. Also note the 2-digit road number. Uncommon for today as most road numbers are in the 4-7 digit range.

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Sure, we’re all familiar with initials like UP, BNSF, NS, CSX, CN, CP & KCS. However providing the personal hands-on attention and customer service is usually carried out by the “foot soldiers of railroading.” The small railroads and independent transportation companies…. And as this page will show you, there are a lot more of them than you may have realized!

There are thousands of small railroads and private companies that are keeping America’s businesses moving. This page is dedicated to those enterprises.

Most railfans tend to only care about the locomotives up front, however, if it weren’t for the railcars and containers rolling behind and most importantly, the cargo they carry, there would be no need for the locomotives or the railroad.

And while there are many websites (Wikipedia for example) that have much more information than we can give you on this page, it serves as a reference point for the trains we cover in this website.

ATW – Atlantic & Western Railway (North Carolina)

CEFX – CIT Equipment Finance Corporation
CGCX – Canadian General Transit – General American Train Company
CLSX – Cargill (Salt Division)

DMM – Dansville & Mount Morris (NY)

FINX – Trinity Rail Management
FTIX – FTIX Associates

GACX – General American Marks Co.
GATX – General American Marks Co.
GNBC – Grainbelt Corporation
GPLX – General American Marks Co.

HCRY – Horry County Railway (South Carolina)

IANR – Iowa Northern Railway
ICE – Iowa, Chicago &amp Eastern
ITGX – ITG, Inc.

LW – Louisville & Wadley

MLMX – Morrison Grain Company – Metal Management

NAHX – GE Rail Services
NATX – North American Tank Car Line
NCIX – Nova Chemicals
NDYX – Dresser Leasing Corporation – First Union Rail

PLMX – PLM International

RMGX – The Andersons

SHPX – ACF Leasing – Shippers Car Line Division
SHQX – American Rail Car Leasing

TCMX – Transportation Company of America
TEIX – Transportation Equipment, Inc.
TILX – Trinity Industries Leasing
TR – Tomahawk Railway (Wisconsin)

UFTX – Residco
UTLX – Union Tank Car Company

Railroad Reporting Marks