Southern Pacific Railroad
Freight Train Symbol Rules

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Train Designation
First number is the blocking code
0 pure train
1 first alternate
2 second alternate
3 third ... etc.

To qualify as an alternate a block must:
1. arrive at the destination or connection point ahead of schedule
2. be destined for the terminal station of the basic schedule or an intermediate point where there is a high probability of having basic blocks to fill the train carrying the alternate block
3. not cause the basic schedule to be late at destination
4. not result in cars for the basic schedule to be delayed for lack of tonnage.
An alternately blocked train should move from the originating station at least an hour and a half in advance of scheduled departure time for each intermediate stop caused by the addition of an alternate block.

The second number is the section number.

The first group of two letters was the origin and the second group of two letters was the destination. See Origin Destination for these codes.

The last letter is the type of train.

A BLoaded Auto Parts
H JEmpty Auto Parts
EGeneral Service Empties
F GForwarder
LLoaded Unit Trains
NEmpty Unit Trains
REmpty Reefers
SSugar Beets
QSugar Beet Empties
T CTrailers and Containers
Y Z W VGeneral Merchandise

Thus the 01EPWCY
would be the first section of an El Paso to West Colton general merchandise train. It would not have any alternate blocks.

On Oct 13, 1985 the symbol system was revised. The first number is now the section number. The fifth letter (position six) designating the train type was changed. Thus the example above became the 1EPWCM.

CUnit Coal Train (Loaded or Empty)
GUnit Grain Train (Loaded or Empty)
JJoint operations
MGeneral Merchandise
OOfficer Special
PPaper or Unit Potash Train (Loaded or Empty)
QSprint Train
RRoad Switcher
SUnit Sulfur Train (Loaded or Empty)
UOther Unit Trains (Loaded or Empty)
WWork Train
XExtra or Drag Trains
YYard Job
ZLight Engine

The seventh position is the sequence number. This indicates a particular routing or schedule.

The eighth position is for special information.

DDouble Stack
HHigh wide or high value
KHazardous chemical
NNo Caboose

The last two numbers are the day of the month the train left its initial terminal.