• A

    • Accessorial Service

      A service rendered by a carrier in addition to a transportation service, such as stopping in transit to complete loading or to partially unload, heating, storage.

    • Amendment

      A change, correction or alteration.

    • Association of American Railroads (AAR)

      The central coordinating and research agency of the American railway industry. This agency deals with matters of common concern in the whole field of railroading from operations to public relations.

    • Assignee

      One to whom a right or property is transferred.

    • Assignor

      One by who a right or property is transferred.

    • Average Agreement (Demurrage)

      An agreement between the shipper or receiver of goods and a transportation line by which the shipper or receiver is charged for cars held over a specified free time and given credit for cars released in less than the specified time. This is usually averaged at the end of each month.

    • Autorack

      A rail car used to transport automobiles. It usually contains two or three levels and metal side panels to protect the automobiles.

  • B

    • Bad Order

      A freight car that is loaded improperly, mechanically defective, or has safety violations.

    • Belt Line

      A short line operating within and/or around a city.

    • Beneficial Owner

      The actual owner of the freight.

    • Bi-Level

      A freight car that has two decks, an upper and a lower, and is designed for transporting automobiles.

    • Bill of Lading

      A shipping form which is both a receipt for property and a contract for delivery of goods by a carrier.

    • Billed Weight

      The weight shown in a freight bill.

    • Blocking or Bracing

      Wood or metal supports to keep shipments in place in or on rail cars and trailers.

    • Box Car

      A car with sides enclosed and having a roof; doors being placed in the sides or sides and ends.

    • Break Bulk

      To remove all or a portion of the contents of a car for transportation to points beyond.

    • Break Bulk Point

      The point at which a portion or all of the contents of a car are unloaded and distributed.

    • Bulk

      A train made up of a single "bulk" commodity and car type. Bulk commodities include coal, grain, soda ash and ore.

    • Bulk Freight

      Freight not in packages or containers.

  • C

    • Capacity

      Amount of freight which can be carried in a rail car or trailer expressed in terms of weight and measurement.

    • Carload

      (a) The quantity of freight required for the application of a carload rate. (b) A car loaded to its weight or space-carrying capacity.

    • Carrier

      An individual, partnership or corporation engaged in the business of transporting goods or persons.

    • Chassis

      A rubber-tired trailer under-frame upon which containers are mounted for street or highway movement.

    • Class 1 Railroads

      Railroads with annual revenue above $250 million.

    • Class 2 Railroads

      Railroads with annual revenue from $20 million to $250 million.

    • Class 3 Railroads

      Railroads with an annual revenue below $20 million.

    • Classification Yard

      The place where cars are segregated by the carriers according to their destinations or deliveries and made ready for proper train movement or delivery.

    • Commodity

      Any article of commerce. Goods shipped.

    • Consignee

      The individual or organization to which freight is shipped.

    • Consignment

      Collection of goods transported under cover of the same transport document in accordance with regulations or tariffs in force where they exist.

    • Consignor

      The individual or organization shipping freight to a consignee.

    • Consist

      A detailed list of cars in a train.

    • Container

      A receptacle that resembles a truck trailer without wheels (chassis) that is lifted on to flat cars and, if loaded, contains the commodity shipped on an intermodal movement.

    • Covered Hopper

      Freight car equipped with high sides and ends and roof fitted with bins, built to carry flour, sand, cement and other bulk commodities.

    • Cross-town

      When a unit is moving from one railroad to another, at the point of exchange, it will be trucked from the first railroad's yard, to the second railroad's yard. This time on the road is called "cross-town."

  • D

    • Delivering Carrier

      The transportation line by which a shipment is delivered to the consignee.

    • Demurrage

      A charge made on cars or other equipment held by or for consignor or consignee for loading or unloading, for forwarding directions or for any other purpose.

    • Destination Dwell

      Demurrage time after a unit has reached its destination by railroad.

    • Detention

      A charge made on vans/containers held by or for a consignor/consignee for loading or unloading, forwarding directions, or any other purpose. Detention is comparable to demurrage on rail equipment.

    • Divert

      To change the route of a shipment in transit.

    • Drayage

      The charge made for hauling freight on carts, drays or trucks.

    • Drayage Provider

      A trucking company.

    • Drayman

      A person employed to pick up and deliver freight at a station.

    • Dray

      A vehicle used to haul goods (usually a truck).

    • Driver Unload

      If a driver has to physically unload the truck there is an additional charge.

    • Dunnage

      The material used to protect or support freight in or on rail cars or trailers.

  • E

    • Embargo

      To resist or prohibit the acceptance and handling of freight.

    • Equipment

      The rolling stock of a carrier (i.e., rail cars).

    • Ex Parte

      From only one party.

  • F

    • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

      The FRA deals specifically with transportation policy as it affects the nation's railroads and is responsible for enforcement of rail safety laws.

    • Flatcar

      A freight car having a floor without any housing or body above. Frequently used to carry car trailers or oversized/odd-shaped commodities.

    • Foreign Car

      Any car not belonging to the particular railway on which it is running.

    • Foreign Carrier

      A term used by a carrier in making references to all other carriers collectively.

    • Freight

      Goods or property transported.

    • Freight Bill

      Statements containing commodity and payment information.

    • Freight Charge

      The charge assessed for transporting freight.

    • Freight Forwarder

      One who assembles small shipments into one large shipment which is then tendered to a regulated over-the-road carrier. Upon reaching destination, the shipment is separated into small shipments and delivered.

  • G

    • Gateway

      A point through which freight commonly moves from one territory to another.

    • Gondola

      A car used to haul bulk commodities and heavy metals. This car type has sides and ends and a level floor. It is usually without a top covering, although there are also covered gondolas.

    • Gross Ton

      2,240 pounds.

    • Gross Weight

      (a) The weight of an article together with the weight of its container and the material used as packing.
      (b) As applied to a car or trailer, the weight of the equipment together with the weight of the entire contents.

  • H

    • Hold

      When a car has been placed on hold for a reason that will no longer allow it to travel safely online.

    • Hopper

      A car (covered or open top) with a floor that slopes from the ends and sides and discharges its contents by gravity through doors at the bottom.

    • Hump

      A very efficient method of switching cars where the cars are shoved up a grade then uncoupled and allowed to roll under their own momentum into classification tracks.

    • Hump Yard

      A switching yard with an elevated track or hump over which cars are pushed by a switching locomotive to travel by gravity to a classification track or other designated points.

  • I

    • In Bond

      Shipments moving under United States Customs Bond.

    • Ingate

      Term applied to units arriving at a railroad terminal over the road, from a trucking company.

    • Interchange Point

      A terminal at which freight in the course of transportation is delivered by one transportation line to another.

    • Inland Carrier

      A transportation line that hauls export or import traffic between ports and inland points.

    • Interchange

      Transfer of freight from one carrier to another.

    • Interchange Track

      A track that is used jointly by two or more carriers or two or more trains.

    • Interline

      Between two or more transportation lines.

    • Intermodal

      The movement of freight by two or more modes of transportation, for example: rail-truck or ship-rail.

  • J

    • Joint Agent

      A person with power to transact business for two or more carriers.

    • Joint Track

      Track that is used jointly by two or more carriers or two or more trains.

  • L

    • Lading

      That which constitutes a load. The freight in or on a rail car, trailer or container.

    • Lane

      The pre-described course a unit follows from origin to destination on the railroad, also known as a valid origin/destination pair. Valid "lanes" are determined by participating railroads.

    • Less than Carload

      Shipments of less-than-carload volume.

    • Less than Truckload

      Shipments of less-than-truckload volume.

    • Line Haul

      The movement of freight over the routes of a carrier from one town or city to another town or city.

  • M

    • Main Line

      That part of the railway, exclusive of switch tracks, branches, yards and terminals.

    • Maintenance of Way

      The process of maintaining roadbed (rail, ties, ballast, bridges, etc.)

    • Manifest

      A document containing a complete description of the contents of a ship, rail car or truck.

    • Manifest Train

      Carries mixed freight for multiple customers.

    • Mixed Carload

      A carload of different articles in a single consignment.

  • P

    • Pallet

      A wooden, paper, plastic or metal platform, usually with a top and bottom, on which packaged goods are placed to facilitate movement by some type of freight handling equipment.

    • Piggy Back

      Transportation of a highway trailer on a railroad flat car.

    • Piggy Back Ramp

      An incline for loading and unloading trailers from a flat car.

    • Private Car

      Cars whose ownership is vested in a person or company that is not engaged in the service of common carriage.

  • R

    • Racks

      Equipment sometimes used in refrigerator cars for the protection of meats and other commodities. Racks are also used to transport auto parts.

    • Rail Car

      A railroad car that does not leave the rail tracks. Products are unloaded directly from the rail car.

    • Ramp

      A structure, permanent or temporary, from which trailers are driven onto or off of a railroad flatcar. Also used in reference to any city or location where piggyback loading and unloading can be performed.

    • RIP Track

      Location within a yard where cars are placed for major repairs or for major cleaning, conditioning or upgrading.

  • S

    • Seal

      A device for fastening or locking the doors on a rail car or trailer.

    • Seal Numbers

      Seals are used to ensure the integrity of a shipment carried in a rail car, van or container. The seal is placed through the door handles and then locked. Each seal is impressed with a seal number; if the seal is broken or the number differs from that originally reported, the consignee knows that the shipment has been tampered with.

    • Send Freight

      The payer of the freight.

    • Shipper

      The owner of goods offered for carriage.

    • Short Line

      A switch carrier or road haul carrier that is not a Class 1 carrier. The carrier usually owns less than one hundred miles of track.

    • Siding

      A track parallel to a main track, having switches at both ends, used for meeting and passing trains.

    • Spotting

      Placement of cars on the correct track to be loaded or unloaded.

    • Spur

      Short, usually dead-end section of track used to access a facility or loading/unloading ramp. It also can be used to temporarily store equipment.

    • Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)

      A code used for identifying truckers, railroads and other conveyors.

    • Standard Transportation Commodity Codes (STCC)

      The STCC system is a seven-digit coding structure designed to classify all commodities or articles that move or may move in freight transportation.

    • Stevedore

      A person who loads or unloads the hold of a vessel.

    • Switch

      To move cars from one track to another at the customer's request for which there may or may not be a tariff charge.

  • T

    • Tank Car

      A car, the body of which consists of a tank for carrying liquids.

    • Tare Weight

      (a) The weight of a container and the material used for packing
      (b) As applied to a car/trailer, the weight of the car/trailer exclusive of its contents.

    • Tariff

      A legal listing of rates used when moving regulated traffic by rail.

    • Terminal

      Facilities provided by a railway at a terminal or at an intermediate point on its line for the handling of passengers or freight; and for the breaking up, making up, forwarding and servicing trains, and interchanging with other carriers.

    • Third Party Logistics (3PL)

      A firm that provides service to its customers of outsourced logistics services for part or all of their supply chain management functions.

    • Through Rate

      A rate applicable through from point of origin to destination.

    • Trackage Rights

      An arrangement in which one railroad (the landlord), grants another railroad (the tenant), the right to operate its trains over specific segments of the landlord’s track.

    • Trailer

      The unit of a tractor-trailer combination in which freight is carried and which the axles and wheels are affixed. A trailer rides on the rail flatcar without the tractor. Trailer refers to vans and containers.

    • Transit

      The time that a unit is on the railroad. Transit starts from the ingate load at origin and goes until the notify party at destination. Transit calculates the amount of time a railroad was in possession of a unit and how long it took to ship that unit from point A to point B.

    • Transload

      To physically transfer product from one transportation vehicle to another.

  • U

    • Unit Trains

      Unit trains are freight trains moving large tonnages of single bulk products between two points. Unloaded on arrival and returned promptly for another load, such trains cut costs by eliminating intermediate yarding and switching.

  • W

    • Waybill

      A document covering a shipment and showing the forwarding and receiving station, the names of consignor and consignee, the car initials and number, the routing, the description and weight of the commodity, instructions for special services, the rate, total charges, advances and waybill reference for previous services, and the amount prepaid.

  • Y

    • Yard

      A system of tracks within defined limits, whether or not part of a terminal, designed for switching services, over which movements not authorized by time-tables or by train order may be made, subject to prescribed signals, rules and regulations.

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