On average, around 250,000 freight cars are on BNSF's rail network at any time. These include cars owned or leased by BNSF, cars owned or leased by our shippers, and cars belonging to other railroads operating on our track.
A "unit train" is a full-length train that is made up of only one type of railcar and hauls one type of product, and all its freight is often bound for a single destination. Coal and agricultural products are frequently handled in unit trains, an operation that is very efficient.
Other trains may include a mix of railcars and haul many different products. These are called "manifest" trains.
Railcars you'll see on BNSF trains include:
- Hoppers carrying agricultural or industrial products
- Boxcars for industrial or consumer goods
- Intermodal flatcars carrying containers or truck trailers
- Centerbeam flatcars carrying lumber or steel
- Tank cars carrying liquids or gasses
- Gondolas carrying coal, aggregates, ores or scrap metal
- Autoracks carrying cars or trucks
- Other flatcars carrying a variety of products such as wind turbine blades, machinery, pipe or wood poles