Eastward Z Trains

Z trains haul a mixture of JB Hunt, Schneider, and Swift containers in double stack well cars along with trailers from other trucking companies (a list appears below). One of the spotting features of Z trains is UPS and FedEx containers and trailers along with trucking company trailers. 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 Z trains just like they did on Q trains, but again these appear to be quite random and not an indicator for any particular train symbol. One spotting feature for LAC trains is domestic 53ft containers sitting on top of marine containers or a mix in the same double stack car.

The following trucking companies ship their trailers via BNSF on the Transcon: ABF, Alliance Shippers, Amazon, Averitt Express, Best Solution, Bold, CDN, Celadon, Central Transport, Clipper, Compass Lease, Dart, Estes, FFE, Freymiller, Global, Go2, Greif, Hercules, JKC, KLLM, Knight, Liv, Marten, McKinney, PGS 360, Polaris, Premier, Prime, R&L, Radiant, Roadrunner, RRM, Southern Refrigerated, Stevens, TemStar, Transport America, TransWest, US Xpress, Vermont Rwy, Vision Express, Vitran, Walmart, Werner, Wheels, White Arrow, Xtra, and YRC (combination of Yellow and Roadway). Schneider has been selling off their old trailers as they moved to containers. Werner has been selling off older trailers as it acquires new trailers. So what may look like a Schneider or Werner trailer is actually in the fleet of another truck company. The most prolific are old Schneider trailers. There are also truck trailers with no logos, just registration numbers. I group these together in a category called plain white vans.

In the trailer count, I did not include containers from JB Hunt, Schneider, or Swift that were riding on spine cars as these containers are already included in the count of containers on double stack cars. I did count marine containers on chassis as these were not included in the count of containers on double stack cars. Trailers and containers from FedEx and UPS have their own separate counts. In the following consist descriptions, when you see the word “with” I have shifted from container counts to trailer counts.

Here are the main intermodal terminals codes:
ALT Alliance Yard (north of Fort Worth) TX
ATG Atlanta, GA
LAC Hobart Yard in Los Angeles, CA
LPK Logistics Park Kansas (near Gardener) KS
MEM Memphis, TN
NBY North Bay (near Richmond) CA
NYC Croxton, NJ near New York City
PHX Phoenix, AZ
SBD San Bernardino, CA
STO Stockton, CA
WSP Willow Springs (west of Chicago) IL

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.

ZLACCHI7 B 0800 Thr-Sat, F 1930, G 0001, C 0900 Average traffic was 38 JB Hunt, 10 Schneider, 8 Swift, 6 UPS containers, 3 FedEx containers, with 5 FedEx trailers, and 46 truck trailers. Delays averaged 4 and a half hours.

ZLACLPK9 B 1300 Tue, Wed, F 0100, G 0500, C 1300 The average train had 37 JB Hunt, 9 Schneider, 7 Swift, 26 UPS containers, and 9 FedEx containers. Marine containers averaged 20, although the counts varied from 3 to 38. Trailers averaged 8 FedEx vans, 4 UPS vans, 5 plain white vans, 2 ABF, 1 Alliance, 2 Marten, 4 Prime, 2 YRC, possibly a Clipper or JKC trailer, and 4 trailers from other truck companies. The average train was 66-0:4464T 6248ft with a 0.71 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 5 units. Performance has been much better this year, averaging one hour ahead of schedule.

ZLACMEM7 B 0200 Tue-Sat, F 1630, G 2100, C 0900 It usually has quite a bit of marine traffic toward the front one third or half then mostly domestic containers. Some 53ft domestic containers will be on 40ft marine containers. It averaged 78 JB Hunt, 27 Schneider, 7 Swift, 1 Matson 53ft, 4 CH Robinson, and 2 FedEx containers. It generally had 15 or fewer trailers on or near the rear. The average was 3 plain white, 6 Marten, 3 Prime, and possibly a Transportation of Mississippi or Averitt Express trailer. This is one of the main spotting features. The average train was 75-0:5443T 7114ft with a 0.77 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 4 units. Delays averaged 3 hours and 15 minutes.

ZLACNYC7 B 1500 Tue F 0300, G 0600, C 1300 See ZLACNYC9 for consist information. The average train was 78-0:5328T 7351ft with a 0.72 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 4 units. Delays averaged 6 hours and 36 minutes.

ZLACNYC9 B 1530 exTue F 0330 G 0630, C 1330 Combined ZLACNYC7 and 9 averaged 102 JB Hunt, 2 Swift, 3 Matson 53ft, 22 UPS, 6 FedEx containers, with 11 FedEx vans, 4 UPS vans, 4 plain white, 3 ABF, 2 R&L, 1 White Arrow, 9 YRC, and 6 trailers from other truck companies. Most trains had the trailers at the rear, but one had them on the front. The average train was 75-0:5051T 7159ft with a 0.71 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 5 units. Average performance was excellent running 45 minutes ahead of schedule.

ZLACWSP6 B 2300 Thur-Sat F 0800, G 1201, C 2100 The ZLACWSP trains are heavy with UPS traffic. It averaged 13 JB Hunt, 3 Schneider, 1 Swift, maybe a Matson 53ft, 5 FedEx, and 5 UPS containers, with 17 UPS vans, 2 FedEx, 32 plain white, 2 Alliance, 19 old Schneider, 2 Prime, 1 White Arrow, 12 YRC, occasional Estes, JKC, or  R&L trailers and 6 trailers from other truck companies. The average train was 75-0:5077T 7125ft with 0.71 tons per linear foot and had 4 units. Delays west of Clovis ranged between an hour and a half to 13 hours with 6 and a half hours being the averge.

ZLACWSP8 B 0900 Tue,Wed F 1830, G 2200, C 0700  It averaged 21 UPS containers, 7 JB Hunt, 1 Schneider, an occasional Swift, 1 Matson 53ft, and 1 FedEx, with 34 UPS vans, 4 FedEx, 18 plain white, 2 ABF, 5 Alliance, 1 Estes, 2 Marten, 10 old Schneider, 2 Prime, 2 R&L, 3 White Arrow, 3 YRC, occasional Estes, JKC, or Radiant trailers and 6 trailers from other truck companies. The average train was 73-0:5093T 7030ft with a 0.72 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 5 units. Average performance was excellent running 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

ZLACWSP9 B 1330 Tue-Sat F 2200, G 0100, C 0900 It operates an hour later Thur-Sat. It averaged 74 UPS containers, 14 JB Hunt, 1 Swift, 1 Matson 53ft, 2 FedEx containers, with 18 UPS vans, 9 FedEx, 16 plain white, 2 ABF, 3 R&L, 2 White Arrow, 6 YRC, and 2 trailers from other truck companies. The average train was 77-0:5970T 7297ft with a 0.82 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 5 or 6 units. Average performance was excellent running just 19 minutes late.

ZNBYWSP7 B 1700 Fri-Sat, F 0400, G 0800, C 1700 ZNBYWSP9 B 1700 Tue-Thr, F 0300, G 0600, C 1400 ZNBYWSP9 usually has two UPS blocks. The larger block on the headend is for Chicago and the smaller block on the rearend is for Kansas City. In between these two blocks are domestic containers and trailers. It averaged 14 JB Hunt, 3 Schneider, 2 Swift, the occasional CH Robinson, or Matson 53ft container, 3 FedEx, and 48 UPS containers, with 4 UPS vans, 2 plain white, 1 Prime, 1 YRC, the occasional FedEx, ABF, Marten, or Estes trailer, and 1 trailer from another truck company. ZNBYWSP9 averaged train 48-0:3257T 4560ft with a 0.71 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 5 or 6 units. Performance on ZNBYWSP9 was excellent with average delays of just 14 minutes, while the average performance on section 7 was 6 hours and 3 minutes late.

ZPHXWSP7 F 1600 Sat-Mon, G 1900, C 0400 and ZPHXWSP9 same schedule Tue,Wed, Fri  It usually has double stack containers on the front and trailers on the rear. Together they averaged 22 JB Hunt, 12 Schneider, 5 Swift, 19 UPS, 8 FedEx, 1 CH Robinson, with 7 UPS vans, an occasional FedEx van, 10 plain white, 1 ABF, 3 Alliance, 1 Clipper, 2 Estes, 1 Go2, 9 YRC, maybe an old Schneider, or Radiant trailer, and 1 trailers from another truck company. The average train was 53-0:3695T 5051ft with a 0.73 tons per linear foot ratio and had 5 units. The number of units fluctuates from 3 to 9 as extra units are generally sent east from Phoenix on this train. Performance was excellent running just one hour late for section 7 and 20 minutes late for section 9..

ZSBDALT9 B 1201 exTue, F 2100, G 0100, C 1000 ZSBDALT7 runs Tuesday about two hours earlier. ZSBDALT9 usually has double stack containers on the front and trailers on the rear. Sometimes there is a short double stack section near the rear. It averaged 88 JB Hunt, 13 Schneider, 19 Swift, 1 CH Robinson, an occasional Matson 53ft container, 18 FedEx containers, with 2 FedEx vans, 2 UPS vans, 2 plain white, 1 ABF, 5 Amazon, 1 Go2, 3 KLLM, 1 Marten, 3 Stevens, 11 YRC trailers. The average train was 80-0:5477T 7648ft with a 0.72 tons per linear foot ratio and usually had 4 units. Performance varied from one to nine hours late. Performance was excellent  for section 9 running just 45 minutes late, but not as good for section 7 running 2 hours and 45 minutes late.

ZSBDATG7 B 2200 exSun, F 1100, G 1500, C 0001 Is usually almost all double stacks. There may be a few trailers with a few domestic containers on spine cars. Averages were 117 JB Hunt, 28 Schneider, 23 Swift, 1 CH Robinson, 1 Matson 53ft container, 20 FedEx containers, with 1 Alliance, 1 Amazon, 1 Estes, 1 Prime, and 1 Stevens trailer. The average train was 81-0:5643T 7758ft 4.0 at 0.73 tons per linear foot and usually had 4 units. Performance was fair over the western part of the system running around an hour and a half late.

ZSBDWSP6 B 0100 Mon-Fri, F 1130, G 1530, C 0200 ZSBDWSP8 B Sat, Sun same schedule ZSBDWSP9 B 1400 Mon, Tue, & Thr F 0001, G 0400, C 1330 Together, they averaged 67 JB Hunt, 13 Schneider, 11 Swift, 1 NFI, an occasional Matson 53ft or CH Robinson container, 4 UPS, 14 FedEx containers, with 3 FedEx vans, 1 UPS van, 5 plain white, 1 ABF, 10 Alliance, 7 Amazon, 2 Estes, 1 KLLM, 1 Marten, 1 old Schneider, 4 Prime, 8 YRC, possibly a Go2, Radiant, or other truck company trailer. ZSBDWSP6 averaged 77-0:5181T 7344ft with a 0.71 tons per linear foot ratio and had 4 units. ZSBDWSP8 averaged 78-0:5023T 7468ft with a 0.67 tons per linear foot ratio and had 4 or more often 5 units. ZSBDWSP9 averaged 79-0:5091T 7500ft with a 0.68 tons per linear foot ratio and often had 5 units. Performance was excellent  for section 9 running 30 minutes early on average, but not as good for section 8 running 2 hours and 50 minutes late, and section 6 running 5 hours late.

ZSTOWSP6 B 1400 exSun, F 0001, G 0430, C 1530 Six out of the eight trains observed had an average of 8 mechanical reefers right behind the units. The average was 10 JB Hunt, 1 Schneider, 2 NFI containers, 6 FedEx containers, maybe one or more CH Robinson, CSX, or UPS containers, with 22 plain white, 13 Alliance, 1 Clipper, 2 Go2, 2 JKC, 1 KLLM, 6 Marten, 5 old Schneider, 9 Prime, 1 Radiant, 3 Stevens, 1 White Arrow, 1 YRC, maybe an ABF or Estes trailer, and 5 trailers from other truck companies. The average train was 67-0:4926T 6366ft with a 0.77 tons per linear foot ratio and had 4 units. Delays averaged 6 hours and 49 minutes.

ZSTOWSP7 B 0001 Thur-Sun, F 1000, G 1400, C 0001 ZSTOWSP7 and 8 averaged 44 JB Hunt, 9 Schneider, 3 Swift, 1 NFI, 1 CSX, 1 Matson 53ft, an occasional CH Robinson or NFI container, 4 UPS, 9 FedEx containers, with 3 FedEx vans, 2 UPS van, 14 plain white, 3 ABF, 2 Alliance, 4 Estes, 1 Go2, 1 JKC, 1 Marten, 4 old Schneider, 1 Prime, 1 R&L 1 Radiant, 1 Stevens, 4 White Arrow, 11 YRC, possibly a Clipper, KLLM, or Radiant trailer, and 3 trailers from other truck companies. The average train was 59-0:4048T 5602ft with a 0.72 tons per linear foot ratio and had 4 units. Delays averaged 7 hours and 12 minutes.

ZSTOWSP8 B 1500 Sun, F 0100, G 0530, C 1500 See ZSTOWSP7 for consist information. The average train was 64-0:4661T 6112ft with a 0.76 tons per linear foot ratio with 4 and sometimes 5 units. Delays averaged 2 hours and 8 minutes.

The following is a tally of the train symbols that have run at least 10 times during the first part of 2019.
11 ZLACATG7
58 ZLACCHI7
39 ZLACLPK9
62 ZLACMEM7
18 ZLACNYC7
58 ZLACNYC9
29 ZLACWSP6
36 ZLACWSP8
72 ZLACWSP9
21 ZNBYWSP7
52 ZNBYWSP9
13 ZPHXWSP7
36 ZPHXWSP9
20 ZSBDALT7
63 ZSBDALT9
63 ZSBDATG7
76 ZSBDWSP6
23 ZSBDWSP8
78 ZSBDWSP9
73 ZSTOWSP6
51 ZSTOWSP7
21 ZSTOWSP8

Revised 7-9-2019 with data collected Jan to June 2019

BNSF Train Symbols
Bare Table Trains
Manifest Trains Westbound
Manifest Trains Eastbound
Q Trains Westbound
Q Trains Eastbound
Marine Stack Trains
Unit Trains
Vehicle Trains
Z Trains Westbound