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CSX train symbol designation

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CSX train symbol designation
Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 5:31 PM

Curious as to why CSX designates certain trains as Q vs L.

For example train Q156 is a daily EB Chicago -Kearny, NJ stacker which departs Chicago around noon daily, perhaps a bit later.  Certain days it is designated as L156.  It is understood that S156 would mean Second section, but what about L?  What the L do they mean?

Also, since the demise of Bullsheet, does anyone know of a listing of CSX symbols and schedules?  That was quite the resource.

Ed

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Posted by CShaveRR on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 7:17 PM

Ed, the information once provided by The Bull Sheet has been perpetuated here:

http://www.georgiarailfan.net/csxtrains/freights.html

In there, it says that an "L" train is an alternate schedule of a "Q" train.  Probably makes an extra setout or pickup on certain days of the week, or something to that effect.

Carl

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 8:57 PM

About 18 years ago all CSX scheduled merchandise, automotive and intermodal trains were R trains.  In a 'marketing' initiative the 'premier' trains were given the 'Q' designation for 'Quality Service'.  Shortly afterwards the customers whose freight was moving on trains that were still 'R' for regular service began to complain that they were receiving '2nd class' service as their traffic was not being moved on Quality Trains.  Shortly thereafter all regularly scheduled merchandise, automotive and intermodal trains were given the 'Q' designation.

In today's CSX the 'R' designation is used for 'Reroute' trains - scheduled trains that have the same origin and destination but for reasons relating to curfews or line blockages are operating on a alternative routing between the end points. ie. a Selkirk-Waycross train that normally operates on the I-95 corridor, because of curfews anywhere between Selkirk and Baltimore, gets rerouted from Selkirk to Buffalo to Ashtabula to Youngstown to New Castle to Cumberland to Brunswick to Richmond and continuing down the I-95 corridor to Waycross.

The 'L' designation is used for trains that have a alternative schedule.  Presume that we operate train 137 seven days a week.  Monday through Friday the train has sufficient volume to operate between A & Z with no intermediate work.  On Saturday & Sunday, the volume of traffic from A is only 1/2 a train and the train stops at D to pick up and at Q to set off the traffic that was picked up at D.  Monday through Friday the train will operate as Q137.  Saturday and Sunday the train will operate as L137 and reflect the additional work the train is to perform.

'S' sections of scheduled trains are operated when there is excess volume for a specific train.  Internal rules are such that 'S' sections should be operated in advance of the normal scheduled times for a train to have the proper affect on the internal metrics upon which system performance is measured.

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 10:24 PM

Carl and BaltACD:

Excellent responses.  Makes perfect sense. 

Your explanation of the S designation makes sense.  Selkirk - Clearing traffic was quite heavy last month and several S393s were operated, well in advance of schedule (usually 8-12 hours in advance).  One day I caught an S393 and Q393 (same suffix date) with the S operating in advance....couldnt figure it out, now it makes sense.

BTW, we are getting slammed with Lake Effect Snow tonight, dispatchers and crews are fighting it best they can. 

Carl, that Bullsheet info was fantastic.  What I have found is the economic pickup has added numerous trains not listed - I have 8 EBs and 10 WBs which have been added since the last update.  CSX is hopping these days.

Thanks,

 

Ed

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Posted by axe208 on Sunday, January 16, 2011 2:08 PM

I spend some time up in Kirkville watching CSX activity through out the year when following NS in my area gets to be old. I always seem to not be able to make out the CSX call signs either because of low audio or just the quick calling of MP's. I took numerous photos yesterday and believed I had the proper train symbols until I looked today and say that the 200 series was automotive. Does this still hold true? I saw a manifest with BNSF, UP, CSX line up and they called as 286.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, January 16, 2011 6:09 PM

Some of the Automotive trains will carry manifest from time to time to either fill out the train or to prevent having to run another manifest train.  The make-up of trains is dynamic based upon what has to be moved and the resources available to move it.

axe208

I spend some time up in Kirkville watching CSX activity through out the year when following NS in my area gets to be old. I always seem to not be able to make out the CSX call signs either because of low audio or just the quick calling of MP's. I took numerous photos yesterday and believed I had the proper train symbols until I looked today and say that the 200 series was automotive. Does this still hold true? I saw a manifest with BNSF, UP, CSX line up and they called as 286.

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Posted by MP173 on Monday, January 17, 2011 8:04 AM

I have difficulty at times hearing the callouts.  No doubt the crews get into a routine of calling out the signals/MP, locomotives, etc.  The best method of id'ing is communication between the dispatcher and crew, or the crew and a RWIC for limits.

The Q110 just passed and I couldnt make out anything off the scanner, but by the charactoristics off the HBD, it had to be that train (3 locomotives, based on the axle count).

Dont know where Kirkville is located, but there is a Q386 which runs from CHicago to Selkirk...that might have had all the power mentioned.

Ed

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, January 17, 2011 8:24 AM

MP173

Dont know where Kirkville is located, but there is a Q386 which runs from CHicago to Selkirk...that might have had all the power mentioned.

Think "Dewitt"...

Axe - If you're already going to Kirkville, consider sliding over to Utica for some trainwatching.  Everything you see at Kirkville will be going through Utica, at speed, and you've got public access on the platforms, a nice warm station, and a covered overhead bridge, too.  The trains call CPs just two miles out on both sides of the station (a scanner is handy,of course), and there's a DD about three miles west of the station, too.

 

 

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Posted by vader225 on Friday, May 16, 2014 12:39 AM

Hi Ed if you go to railfan.com you will find CSX symbols it is only for Pa. but dose list a lot of information.

Hope this helps. 

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Posted by L&N364 on Monday, May 19, 2014 8:37 PM

As Carl Shaver pointed out, the L stands for alternative schedule. Several years ago just after the move to Jacksonville, I was working in the CSX Service Design Department and got tasked with the job of coming up with the new train symbol system for the combined railroad's operation plan. At that point the Seaboard System had three digit train numbers and the Chessie System had train names like the Chicagoan, computer symbol CHGN, numbers like 90, computer symbol 0090, etc. The new computer database was defined as one alpha and three numerics. With those restrictions, I came up with an alpha that was defined by what the train carried and a number series that at least in the case of the merchandise fleet told something about what part of the railroad the train ran in. At first, all scheduled merchandise trains were R trains with S as the second section. Then we started needing additional schedules for trains to do additional work on some days as Carl pointed out. Thus the alternate schedules. But A was already in use for the Atlanta Division locals. L had not been used, so I came up with "L"ternate schedules. Q for quality trains came later and then every merchandise train became a Q train. The new numbering system was placed into effect on July 1, 1987 and, with numerous modifications over the years, is still in effect. 

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Posted by MP173 on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 8:52 AM

It is really a good system.  It is interesting how the symboling for NS and CSX are similar with number while the BNSF and UP are alpha based.  Granted, the CSX uses an alpha prefix (such as K for commodity or Q for Quality), but both use similar numbering systems.

A recently retired CSX engineer told me the L designation for intermodal trains indicated the train was "late" or behind schedule, but my understanding was what you indicated...L stands for an alternate schedule.

 

Ed

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 11:12 AM

L&N364

As Carl Shaver pointed out, the L stands for alternative schedule. Several years ago just after the move to Jacksonville, I was working in the CSX Service Design Department and got tasked with the job of coming up with the new train symbol system for the combined railroad's operation plan. At that point the Seaboard System had three digit train numbers and the Chessie System had train names like the Chicagoan, computer symbol CHGN, numbers like 90, computer symbol 0090, etc. The new computer database was defined as one alpha and three numerics. With those restrictions, I came up with an alpha that was defined by what the train carried and a number series that at least in the case of the merchandise fleet told something about what part of the railroad the train ran in. At first, all scheduled merchandise trains were R trains with S as the second section. Then we started needing additional schedules for trains to do additional work on some days as Carl pointed out. Thus the alternate schedules. But A was already in use for the Atlanta Division locals. L had not been used, so I came up with "L"ternate schedules. Q for quality trains came later and then every merchandise train became a Q train. The new numbering system was placed into effect on July 1, 1987 and, with numerous modifications over the years, is still in effect. 

When it comes to Divisional train symbols; the Divisions that CSX's organization recognized in 1987 has changed into the present day, not only within the 'traditional' CSX territory but in the territory that was acquired from ConRail in 1999; as such the divisional letter qualifier can be confusing when viewed in the present day. Former CSX Divisions - Detroit, Mobile, Tampa & Appalachian  no longer exist in name with their territories being combined into other existing CSX Divisions.  With the ConRail acquisition the Great Lakes Division was created with territories from the Detroit Division as well as the Western part of the ConRail acquisition.  The Albany Division was created from the Eastern portion of the ConRail acquisition.

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 12:52 PM

Seems like I read somewhere (BullSheet?) that the numbers within the train designators can have meaning as well - ie, a "Q6xx" train crosses corridors, or something to that effect.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by JoeKoh on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 2:51 PM

K= hazmat

U= coal

G=grain

if a train number is between 0 and 99 it's a hot one on the system. Q 010 is a ups intermodal train from Chicago to New York.

stay safe

Joe

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 10:52 PM

JoeKoh

K= hazmat

U= coal

G=grain

if a train number is between 0 and 99 it's a hot one on the system. Q 010 is a ups intermodal train from Chicago to New York.

stay safe

Joe

The Grain dept. recently has thought that G makes way too much sense for Grain trains - now they have begun using V, which previously was used for a variety of coal trains.

K is not a HAZMAT designator, as such - it is a bulk commodity designator for commodities other than Coal and Grain.  These bulk commodities include iron ore, bauxite, steel slabs, crude oil, ethanol and a number of other commodities.

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Posted by n012944 on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 7:13 PM

BaltACD

JoeKoh

K= hazmat

U= coal

G=grain

if a train number is between 0 and 99 it's a hot one on the system. Q 010 is a ups intermodal train from Chicago to New York.

stay safe

Joe

The Grain dept. recently has thought that G makes way too much sense for Grain trains - now they have begun using V, which previously was used for a variety of coal trains.

V is to be used only for empty grain trains.

An "expensive model collector"

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