• BNSF Train Symbols: Gulf D / Houston SD

  • Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM
Discussion related to BNSF operations. Official site: BNSF.COM

Moderator: Komachi

  by BEDT 14
Greetings from Texas!

I am in Flynn TX, railfanning the BNSF Gulf Division / Houston Subdivision.

I found some references online regarding train symbols and coding (i.e.: M-TEAHOU: A mixed freight from Teague to Houston). Ok, simple enough, and I printed them out.

Now after listening in on several trains on the scanner, the issue is the crews are referring to their trains by the lead loco number (i.e.: "BNSF 5515, approach, 169.4). This applies to everything: through freights, locals, lite engines, etc. Even with the dispatcher issuing a track warrant, the reference is to loco number.

With this being that case, how can I know exactly which train I am looking at?

All the best and thanks in advance for your help!

  by Backshophoss
The only time you will hear train symbols will be near a yard,when a crew calls the DS for premission to change the GTB's
adress to the current lead unit's # from "unknown" or after a dead lead unit is removed from the consist.
When the train starts it's run, the lead unit's # is used by GCOR rule until it reaches it's final terminal.

Typical exchange on radio,
BNSF 1801 to NMRX DS,would like to change GTB #xxxxx to read BNSF 1801,we're YABQ 101job,over
NMRX DS to BNSF 1801,You have permission to change GTB #xxxxx to now read BNSF 1801 from unknown,over
BNSF 1801 has permission to change GTB #xxxxx to now read as BNSF 1801,over
(NMRX DS Reply)That is correct,out.

Sometimes after a shift change at Ft Worth a DS might call out : BNSF DS-111 to BNSF 5515 west, TEAHOU

THE above are ONLY examples.
  by BEDT 14


I have to say, I've never experienced anything quite the way it works here on the Houston Sub: Aspects not called, defect detectors not answered. I paced 6823 today, all the way from Flynn MP 168.4 to TMPA MP139.4. Stayed right along side the locomotive at 30-40 miles per hour. I know I have the correct freq because when a train is in the siding either waiting for another to pass or after dropping off cars do I hear the crews calling into the dsp for a track warrant.

Either way, thanks again!

  by Backshophoss
Every DS has his/her own style when working, takes time to figure out. :wink:
  by Rockingham Racer
Northtown calls train symbols on a fairly regular basis. Go up the Staples Sub to E. Dilworth and you'll hear mostly engine numbers. Don't know for sure, but they may even sit right next to each other in Ft. Worth!