Union Pacific Freight Train Symbols
Every UP train operated will have a symbol for identification. At the time of our report in 1987, regular trains used a four, five, or six letter symbol. The first two letters indicated the point of origin and the next two letters are the destination. For those symbols with five letters, the last letter indicated the type of train, "T" or "Z" for piggyback, and "P" for perishable. Some trains interchanged with the CNW used their designation for manifest (general freight) which was the letter "A." Trains interchanged with Norfolk Southern ended with the letters "NS" and trains interchanged with the Chessie System ended with the letters "CX."
The Union Pacific used a two letter code to represent the various terminals on the railroad. See bottom of this page for the two letter codes used for origins and destinations for unit grain and regularly scheduled trains. The single letter in parenthesis is the single letter designation previously used by the Missouri Pacific.
Trains with four letters carry general freight. Some of these were followed by the number 1, 2 or 3 to differentiate schedules. Double stack trains had the name of the ship line in the symbol: American Presidents Lines "AP," Maersk Lines "MK" and K-Line "KL." These symbols ended with a number that designated the day of departure from either the West Coast or Chicago starting with "1" for Monday and going through "7" for Sunday.
Local train symbols began with the letter L. Amtrak trains began with the letters "AMT" and were then followed by the regular Amtrak train number. Foreign line trains began with the letter "F" and were either followed by the foreign line symbol or the initials of the railroad. Light engine movements between terminals used the letter "E" at the beginning of the symbol followed by the origin and destination codes. Special trains used the letter "S" at the beginning.
In addition to regularly scheduled trains, there were extra trains. Extra train symbols began with an "X." The letters or numbers following the "X" would be origin and destination codes or the symbol used by a scheduled train or local. For example: XAVHO would be an extra from Avondale, LA to Houston and XAPSED would be an extra APL double stack train for Seattle. This system was being phased out during 1987 for a number system. An additional section of a regularly scheduled train would add the number 2 in front of the regular symbol.
AD Addis, LA