Burlington Northern Railroad
Freight Train Symbol History
for Trains 1 Through 19

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This is more of a reference manual about Burlington Northern freight train symbols than a traditional history book about the railroad. Each train symbol is listed with a brief history and description of its primary functions and work activities. Following the description is a list of condensed schedules. This gives the train symbol's origin, destination, departure and arrival times. Near the end of each line will be a number to indicate the number of days it took for its schedule. For example, if the train departed its origin on Monday and arrived at its destination on Wednesday, then the number would be a two to indicate the arrival two days after it departed. If the train leaves its origin and arrives at its destination on the same day, then no number is given. The last pair of numbers indicate the year of the schedule from my reference material. If the schedule remained the same for several time periods then the beginning and ending years are given with a dash between. If the schedule remained the same but the symbol was changed, the schedule for both symbols are listed to show the change in train symbol.

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Burlington Northern Railroad train 1 began in 1972-3 handling TOFC for the Bay Area and California. During 1974-8 the schedule was changed to interchange with the UP at Grand Island at 845PM. The train was deleted between 1979-81.

1 Chicago 600A  Council Bluffs 445P  73

BN train 23 began in 1976 and became train 1 on Jan. 1, 1985. In 1988, it handled Portland, Seattle, and Spokane TOFC and autos. At Spokane, it would set out Seattle traffic for train 91 and pick up Portland TOFC and autos. Later the destination was changed to Seattle and in February 1997 the symbol became QCHCSEH.

23 Chicago 100P  Portland 500P  2 76-78
23 Chicago 1130P  Portland 645A  3 80-81
1 Chicago 1130P  Portland 530A  3 86
1 Chicago 1130P  Portland 630A  3 6/88

BN train 2 began in 1972-3 handling TOFC from California. During 1974-8 the schedule was changed to interchange with the UP at Grand Island at 515PM. Between 1979-81, train 2 was deleted.

2 Council Bluffs 845P  Chicago 630A  1 73

BN train 24 became train 2 on Jan. 1, 1985 and operated Tuesday through Saturday. In 1988, it handled TOFC for Chicago, Northtown, Galesburg, and St. Louis. In February 1997 the symbol became QPTLCHC.

2 Portland 215A  Chicago 400P  2 86
2 Portland 230A  Chicago 400P  2 12/87

Burlington Northern train symbol 3 at Harrington, WA
Burlington Northern train symbol 3 Harrington, WA

BN train 3 began in 1972 as the Pacific Zip. The schedule was changed during the Summer of 1975 and in 1979. In 1988, it handled Spokane and South Seattle TOFC. In February 1997 the symbol became ZCHCSEH.

Burlington Northern train symbol 3 at Ephrata, EA
Burlington Northern train symbol 3 Ephrata, EA

3 Chicago 900A  Seattle 900A  2 73
3 Chicago 200P  South Seattle 700P  2 76
3 Chicago 200P  South Seattle 945P  3 80
3 Chicago 155P  South Seattle 730P  2 86
3 Chicago 130P  South Seattle 730P  2 6/87

Burlington Northern train symbol 3 South Seattle
Burlington Northern train symbol 3 South Seattle, WA

BN train 4 began in 1972-73. During 1978-79 the schedule was changed. In 1988, it handled Chicago, Northtown, Galesburg, St. Louis, and Dilworth TOFC. At Northtown, it set out TOFC for Northtown, Galesburg, and St. Louis. In February 1997 the symbol became ZSEHCHC.

4 South Seattle 730P  Chicago 415A  3 73
4 South Seattle 730P  Chicago 900P  3 80-81
4 South Seattle 1030P  Chicago 1230P  3 86-88

Burlington Northern train symbol 7 at Argo
Burlington Northern train symbol 7 Argo, WA

BN train 7 began Aug. 1, 1985 and operated from Chicago Friday and Saturday to Tacoma handling double stack Sea-Land containers overflow from train 9. In 1988 it operated from the CSX Beford facility on Thursday and Friday. In February 1997 the symbol became SBPATAC.

7 Chicago 1201P  Tacoma 200A  3 86
7 Chicago 900P  Tacoma 100P  3 3/88

BN train 8 began Aug. 1, 1985 and operated from Tacoma Monday and Tuesday to Chicago handling double stack Sea-Land containers overflow from train 10. In 1988, it also handled containers for St Paul.

8 Tacoma 800P  Chicago 200P  3 86
8 Tacoma 600A  Chicago 1159P  2 4/88

BN train 9 began in May 1985 handling double stack Sea-Land containers. It operated from Chicago on Thursday.

9 Chicago 400P  Tacoma 600A  3 86
9 Chicago 400A  Tacoma 600P  2 12/87-88

Burlington Northern train symbol 10 at Auburn
Burlington Northern train symbol 10 Auburn, WA

BN train 10 began in May 1985 handling double stack Sea-Land containers. It operated from Tacoma on Tuesday. In February 1997 the symbol became SSEACHC-D.

10 Tacoma 1201P  Chicago 900A  3 86-88

BN train 44 became train 12 on Jan. 1, 1985 and operated Monday through Friday from the Seattle International Gateway. In 1988, it handled TOFC and double stack containers for Northtown, Galesburg, St. Louis, Chicago, and interchange with the GTW and IHB for Croxton, NJ. In February 1997 the symbol became SSEACHC-B.

12 Seattle 830P  Chicago 1230P  3 86-88

BN train 33 began in 1978. Train 33 became train 13 on Jan. 1, 1985. In 1988, it handled autos and TOFC for Portland and Dilworth TOFC. At Dilworth, it would fill with Seattle and Spokane TOFC. Seattle TOFC was set out at Spokane for trains 21 and 15. In February 1997 the symbol became QSPOPTL.

33 Spokane 835A  Portland 600P  78
33 Spokane 1120A  Portland 845P  80
13 Chicago 130P  Portland 630P  2 86
13 Chicago 155P  Portland 855P  2 5/88

Train 14 handled TOFC and autos for Spokane and connects with trains 24 and 92. The schedule was revised June 19, 1986 to operate Monday through Friday. It also handled Maersk, Itel, and Sea-Land overflow container traffic from the Seattle International Gateway. In 1988, it handled Dilworth, Northtown, Galesburg, St. Louis, Eola, Chicago, GTW Flatrock, and IHB Croxton, NJ TOFC and autos. Additional TOFC was picked up at Shelby and Dilworth. The schedule was changed in 1989 to terminate at Northtown. In February 1997 the symbol became VPTLCHC.

14 Tacoma 700P  Spokane 1000A  1 86
14 Tacoma 800P  Chicago 645P  3 6/88

BN train 43 began in 1978. Train 43 became train 15 on Jan. 1, 1985. In 1988, it handled Vancouver, BC (set out at Everett) and Seattle TOFC. The schedule was changed in 1989 to originate in Chicago. In February 1997 the symbol became SCHCSEA.

43 Spokane 845P  South Seattle 715A  1 80
15 Spokane 805P  South Seattle 705A  1 86
15 Spokane 835P  South Seattle 805A  1 5/88

NP train 601 became BN train 85 operating via Laurel. Train 85 began operating from Chicago on Thursday through Saturday in late 1981 with the start of the CHB which operated Monday through Wednesday. Train CHB became train 19 and train 85 became train 119 on Jan. 1, 1985. In 1988, trains 19 and 119 handled priority traffic for Northtown, Dilworth, Jamestown, Mandan, Billings, Laurel, and beyond. Train 119 was deleted in Feb. 1989. In February 1997 the symbol became PCHCLAU.

NP 601 St. Paul 345A  Auburn 1000P  1 69-70
BN 85 St. Paul 1130A  Auburn 1100P  3 71
85 Chicago 730P  Pasco 1015P  3 73
85 Chicago 810P  Pasco 1145P  3 80
19 Chicago 755P  Laurel 1235P  2 86-88
119 Chicago 810P  Laurel 650P  2 86-88

To help you navigate between pages I've placed a navigation bar like the following at the top of all of the other pages. Each page covers a range of train symbol numbers. To quickly jump ahead or move back to a particular page, just click on one of the number sets. Each page will still have a sequence button at the bottom right so you can step through all of the pages.