Freight Car Friday – Reporting Marks Quiz

6 06 2014

The school year is winding down, so let’s get in one more quiz before summer vacation arrives! Nothing too complicated here, just your ABC’s. Let’s see how well you recognize your favorite railroads by their reporting marks.

weight data

Reporting marks are a subtle but essential part of railroad operations.

Reporting marks are the unique set of initials assigned to every company that owns a railroad car. Containers and trailers which ride the rails get them too. Along with the road number, these marks identify the car and provide the railroads’ operating departments a way to route and track it correctly.

Usually the reporting marks are related to the railroad or company name or initials. In some cases the marks seem strange, particularly where the initials are based off of the official roadname and not necessarily the one with which we’re most familiar, like Cotton Belt’s “SSW” for example.

Here is a list of 26 historic and contemporary reporting marks. In addition to well-known railroads, there are some smaller companies, private car owners, intermodal shippers and leasers included to make it a little more challenging. How many do you know?


When cars are sold, often the reporting marks are changed without completely repainting the car.

  1. AA
  2. BN
  3. CSX
  4. DTI
  5. ETTX
  6. FW&D
  7. GM&O
  8. HLCX
  9. ITC
  10. JBHU
  11. KCS
  12. LBR
  13. M
  14. NOPB
  15. ONT
  16. P&WV

    X31 boxcar

    Some roads, like the Pennsylvania and Southern, spelled out their entire name on cars into the 1960s. Automated car tracking systems and computers would make such a practice impractical and reporting marks are now limited to 4 letters.

  17. QC
  18. RDG
  19. SFRD
  20. TRRA
  21. UTCX
  22. VC
  23. WC
  24. XOMX
  25. YV
  26. ZCAX

How did you do? Check out the answer key to check your work and learn a little more. If you want some more chances to test your knowledge, look for the next issue of the LRRC’s Inside Track – coming to members later this month!



3 responses

6 06 2014
Andrew Falconer

I have not seen LBR on freight cars in the past 10 years.

I was going to check on XOMX sometime. That is on Tank Cars and Covered Hoppers. I has to be a chemical company.

6 06 2014
Andrew Falconer

XMOX is a chemical company, but I will not say which one, so people have to guess.

6 06 2014
Conductor Andrew

Reblogged this on theredcaboose1.

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