Q trains haul mostly JB Hunt, Schneider, and Swift containers in double stack well cars. They rarely have trailers from other trucking companies. See the Z trains for a list of truck companies. Occasionally containers from JB Hunt, Schneider, and Swift will be loaded onto spine cars but that does not make these Z trains. On the surface these trains may all look the same but there are subtle differences. Matson, CH Robinson, COFC, and APL Logistics 53ft containers will also appear in these trains, but these appear to be quite random and not an indicator for any particular symbol. One spotting feature for some LAC trains is domestic 53ft containers sitting on top of marine containers and this will be noted in the descriptions. When a description says some, it means that the train had a few of these types of containers or trailers, but not enough to raise the average above 0.5. Following the symbol train description is a pie chart showing the proportions of domestic containers or trailers within each train. This should make it much easier to identify trains by the cars in the consist. Don't expect the same type of container or trailer to be the same color in all of the charts.
The following companies ship domestic 53ft containers via BNSF on the Transcon. Following the company name is the number of containers in that companies fleet as of the end of 2016, if available. APL Logistics 1,000, Axsun, CH Robinson 1,000, COFC 800, CSX 4,000, FedEx 1,800, JB Hunt 85,000, Matson 400, NFI, Pacer 10,000, Schneider 17,000, Swift 9,000, Universal 800, UPS 5,700. Pacer containers are moving into a lease fleet with Pacer being painted out. Some of these Pacer lease containers are showing up on the BNSF. There are about 150 raildecks or flatracks in use across the country. These look like a flatbed trailer frame but have braced stanchions to support a container that could be stacked on top of it. They primarily haul structural steel. Due to their low numbers you don't see raildecks very often.
Here are the main intermodal terminal codes:
ALT Alliance, TX (north of Fort Worth)
ATG Atlanta, GA
AUG Austell, (near Atlanta) GA
CHI Chicago, IL
CXO CSX North Baltimore, OH
LAC Hobart Yard in Los Angeles, CA
MEM Memphis TN
NSA Norfolk Southern Ashland Avenue in Chicago
NWH CSX North Baltimore, OH
NYC Croxton, NJ near New York
PEA Pearland, (near Houston) TX
PHX Phoenix, AZ
RIC Richmond, (near Oakland) CA
SBD San Bernardino, CA
STL Saint Louis, MO
STO Stockton, CA
Following the symbol is the rough schedule time when the train is scheduled to go through Barstow (B), Flagstaff (F), Gallup (G), and Clovis (C) in military time, so 1300 is 1 PM. Some schedules have changed recently and I haven't had time to calculate the new rough schedules.
QLACALT6 B 2100, F 1100, G 1600, C 0400 The train averaged 96 JB Hunt, 15 Schneider, 16 Swift, 4 CH Robinson, 1 Matson 53, 4 plain white vans, 2 YRC, 1 other trucking company van, some UPS boxes, FedEx boxes, ABF, and Marten vans. The spine cars with trailers and containers may appear anywhere in the train. I've seen them on the front, middle and the rear with as few as one truck trailer to as many as 15 trailers. On average two domestic 53 ft containers were placed on marine containers.The average train was 71-0:5238T 6760ft with a 0.77 tons per linear foot ratio and was usually pulled by 3 units.
QLACATG6 B 0300, F 1800, G 2300, C The train averaged 52 JB Hunt, 70 Schneider, 6 Swift, 2 CH Robinson, 6 CSX, 5 Matson 53, and 1 FedEx box. Along with the domestic containers were some marine containers. On average one domestic 53 ft container was placed on a 40ft marine container in each train. The average train was 71-0:5444T 6762ft with a 0.81 tons per linear foot ratio and was pulled by 3 or 4 units.
QLACAUG6 B 2300, F 1800, G 2300, C 1400 JB Hunt containers averaged 177 and Swift 20. The average train was 72-0:5292T 6830ft with a 0.77 tons per linear foot ratio and was pulled by 3 or 4 units. With only two kinds of domestic containers, this train is easy to recognize. I think this runs about four times a week.
QLACCXO1 and QLACNWH6 B 1100 F 2200, G 0400, C 1500 The NWH symbol started on October 30, 2018. The QLACNWH originates when there is enough traffic for
the Northwest Ohio block, otherwise it will use the CXO code. The QLACNWH6
operates more frequently. The average NWH train had 44 JB Hunt, 64 Schneider, 6 Swift, 2 CH Robinson, 14 CSX,
4 domestic containers
on marine boxes, and occasionally some Matson 53 boxes. The average CXO train had 94 JB Hunt, 7 Schneider, 7 Swift, 4 CH Robinson, 4 CSX, 2 Matson 53, 2 domestic containers
on marine boxes and was 75-0:5672T 7109ft with a 0.80 tons per linear foot ratio. The average NWH train was 74-0:5517T 6937ft with a 0.80 tons per linear foot ratio. Power was generally 4 units.
QLACLPC6 B 1900, G 0100, C 1600. This train began operating in September 2018. Initially it used either
section 2 or 6 in the symbol. Since October, it looks like it is only using section 6. It is mostly domestic
containers with some marine containers mixed in.
It averaged 176 JB Hunt, 18 Schneider, 9 Swift, 3 CH Robinson, 2 CSX, 19
on marine boxes, occasionally some Matson 53, or UPS boxes. The average train was 93-0:7052T 8776ft with a 0.80 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 5 units.
QLACMEM6 B 1900 Monday, F 0500, G 1000, C 0800 This train appears to operates about three days a week. It averaged 83 JB Hunt, 21 Schneider, 15 Swift, 2 CH Robinson, 1 FedEx box, 1 Estes van, 1 Prime, 1 Walmart van, 4 other truck company vans, and 5 domestic containers on marine boxes. The trains were about 90% domestic, with mixed marine near the front. On the rear may be a few Averitt, Transportation of Mississippi, Ozark, Prime, Marten or plain white trailers. The average train was 73-0:5299T 6919ft with a 0.77 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 3 or 4 units.
QLACNSA6 B 1500, F 0100, G 0500, C 1700 JB Hunt containers averaged 151 JB Hunt, 6 Swift, 1 Matson 53, 6 domestic containers on marine boxes, occasionally some Estes vans. Marine traffic varied from 7 containers up to 31 wells of containers. The average train was 73-0:5288T 6872ft with a 0.77 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 3 or 4 units.
QLACPEA1 B 0100, F 1100, G 1600, C 0500 The trains run from about a 50-50 mix of domestic to marine containers, to as high as 75% marine containers. The domestic traffic averaged 54 JB Hunt, 26 Schneider, 12 Swift, 1 CH Robinson, and 11 domestic containers on marine boxes. The average train was 73-0:5823T 6832ft with a 0.85 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 3 units.
QPHXCHI1 F 0200, G 0700, C 1600 The power desk put nine units on one of these trains in order to move excess power out of Phoenix east to where it was needed. The primary role of this train is to move low priority loads and available empties out of Phoenix. The train is generally between 2,000 and 4,000 tons with an average length of about a mile. So the weight to length ratio is low at 0.42 to 0.63 tons per linear foot. By contrast the average LA to Chicago Q train runs between 0.75 to 0.80. The train looks different almost every day it runs. The train averaged 26 JB Hunt, 17 Schneider, 15 Swift, 1 CH Robinson, 1 FedEx box, 1 YRC box, 22 UPS vans, 6 plain white vans, 4 ABF vans, 2 Alliance, 1 Clipper, 5 Estes vans, 1 Go2, 11 YRC vans, 5 other truck company vans, occasionally some Stevens reefer trailers. One train had 66 UPS trailers, normally average is 11. The average train was 52-5:3001T 5385ft with a 0.56 tons per linear foot ratio. Notice the low weight to length ratio meaning that most of the containers or trailers are empty.
QRICCHI6 runs occasionally and averaged 40 JB Hunt, 1 Schneider, 2 Estes vans, and 23 autoracks.The average train was 66-5:5023T 6457ft with a 0.74 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 4 units.
QSBDALT6 runs occasionally and averaged 144 JB Hunt, 10 Schneider, 16 Swift, 6 CH Robinson, 1 Estes van, and 1 Walmart van. The average train was 75-0:5329T 7180ft with a 0.74 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 3 or 4 units.
QSBDCHI6 B 0800, F 2000, G 0100, C 1400 This is a second section to the QSBDCHI7. It averaged 146 JB Hunt, 40 Schneider, 17 Swift, 1 CH Robinson, and 2 Matson 53ft containers. The average train was 80-0:5863T 7562ft with a 0.78 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 4 units. The average train was 79-0:5740T 7562ft with a 0.76 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 4 units. Pie chart below QSBDCHI7.
QSBDCHI7 B 1800, F 0800, G 1400, C 0300 It averaged 143 JB Hunt, 41 Schneider, 16 Swift, 2 Matson 53, occasionally some CH Robinson, Amazon boxes, or Walmart vans. The average train was 80-0:5960T 7557ft with a 0.79 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 4 units. The average train was 77-1:5701T 7448ft with a 0.77 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 4 units. Sometimes it will have empty wells. Another spotting feature is Twin Logistics containers. So far they seem to be only on QCHISBD6 and 7 westbound and QSBDCHI7 eastbound.
QSTOALT6 B 1400, F 0200 G 0800, C 2000 The average train had 86 JB Hunt, 18 Schneider, 9 Swift, 1 CH Robinson, 1 Matson 53, 1 plain white van, 3 Amazon vans, 1 KLLM, 2 Prime, 2 Stevens, 5 autoracks, occasionally some Marten boxes, Alliance, or ABF vans. The average train was 62-0:5089T 5863ft with a 0.87 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 3 or 4 units.
QSTOATG6 B 0600, F 1800, G 2300, C 1201 This train operates several times a week The average train had 122 JB Hunt, 21 Schneider, 10 Swift, 2 CH Robinson, 2 CSX, and 6 Matson 53ft containers. The average train was 62-0:5620T 5914ft with a 0.95 tons per linear foot ratio and sometimes had 3 more often 4 units.
QSTOCHI6 B 1800, F 0700, G 1300, C 0200 The average train had 128 JB Hunt, 35 Schneider, 9 Swift, 3 CH Robinson, 9 CSX, 5 Matson 53, and sometimes has autoracks. There were around 4 Agmark 20ft tanktainers in each train. The average train was 75-0:6666T 7162ft with a 0.93 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had the power in a 3+2 configuration.
Revised 1-5-2020 with data collected in 2019
BNSF Train Symbols
Bare Table Trains
Manifest Trains Westbound
Manifest Trains Eastbound
Q Trains Westbound
Marine Stack Trains
Z Trains Westbound
Z Trains Eastbound
Transon Traffic Density
Pie Chart Comparison Tool