AAR Car Type Codes

I don’t have descriptions for every year. I’m filling in the table as I get more information. Descriptions that contain comma-separated lists of years are known for the years listed. Where a range of years is known that is shown in the year lists.

Each car code consists of a letter followed by three numbers.

Code Description
A 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Equipped box cars.
Code Description
B 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Unequipped box cars.
Code Description
C 1970–1981. Coke gondola cars.

1983–2002. Covered hopper cars.

Code Description
D 1970, 1980. Not used.

1990, 2000. Locomotives.

Code Description
E 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Equipped gondola cars.
Code Description
F 1970. Flat cars including vehicular flat cars.

1980, 1990, 2000. Flat cars.

Code Description
G 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Unequipped gondola cars.
Code Description
H 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Unequipped hopper cars.
Code Description
I 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Not used.
Code Description
J 1970, 1980. Ore jenny cars (GT and HMA).

1990, 2000. Rotary gondola cars (GT).

Code Description
K 1970–2002. Equipped hopper cars.
K384 1988–2002. 3 = Load limit at least 185,000 pounds.

1988–2002. 8 = Mechanical designation HMA ore.

1988–2002. 4 = Capacity less than 3,000 cubic feet. HTS not in low density service.

Code Description
L 1970, 1980. Special type cars including covered hopper cars.

1990, 2000. Special type cars.

Code Description
M 1970, 1980. Maintenance of way cars.

1990, 2000. Non-revenue cars, passenger cars and end of train devices.

Code Description
N 1970–1988. Caboose cars.

1989–1990, 2000. Not used.

N100 1970–1988. Mechanical designation NE eight-wheeled.
N110 1970–1972. Mechanical designation NM four-wheeled. Deleted 1973.
Note: Moved to M category in 1989.
Code Description
O 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Not used.
Code Description
P 1970–1981. Passenger cars.

1983. Intermodal cars.

1984–2002. Conventional intermodal cars.

Code Description
Q 1970, 1980. Not used.

1984–1988. Light weight, low profile intermodal cars.

1990, 2000. Light weight, low profile intermodal cars, including RoadRailer bogies.

2015. Lighter Weight Intermodal. Low profile intermodal cars. Mechanical Designation “FC” — If Less than 33M Pounds or “FCA” Articulated and Multi-Platform Cars or Steel Wheel Railsets for Car-less Technology (See notes 1 through 6 below).[UDSM]

2015. Note 1: All “Q” class cars have a deck height of 2’8” ATR or less, unless otherwise indicated.[UDSM]
2015. Note 2: All “Q” class cars are suitable Only for Lift-On/Lift-Off terminal handling (no bridge plates and non-retractable hitches).[UDSM]
2015. Note 3: All “Q” class cars will handle trailers with tandem wheels up to 102” wide.[UDSM]
2015. Note 4: Multiples of two or more platforms are either fully articulated or are semi-permanently coupled together and cannot be separated except at a repair track. A “platform” is capable of carrying a trailer or container at least 40’ long or two 20’ containers. If 1st numeric is 8 (Steel wheel sets for carless technology) 2nd numeric must be a 1.[UDSM]
2015. Note 5: Although other king pin settings may be acceptable, trailer handling capabilities are based on a trailer king pin setting of 36”.[UDSM]
2015. Note 6: All “Q” class cars with TOFC capability will handle trailers of the length indicated, plus nose mounted refrigeration units, unless otherwise indicated.[UDSM]
2015. FCA — Flat car, articulated or drawbar connected multi-unit, specially equipped for transporting containers, chassis, and trailers in TOFC/COFC service.[UDSM]
Code Description
R 1970–2002. Refrigerator cars.
Code Description
S 1970–1987. Stock cars.

1989–2002. Stack cars.

Code Description
T 1970–2002. Tank cars.
Code Description
U 1970. Not used.

1980–2002. Containers.

Code Description
V 1970. Not used.

1974. V Stac-Pac and Vert-A-Pac vehicular flat cars.

1975–2002. Vehicular flat cars.

Code Description
W 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Not used.
Code Description
X 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Not used.
Code Description
Y 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000. Not used.
Code Description
Z 1970. Not used.

1980–1987. Trailers.

1988–2002. Trailers, including RoadRailer trailers.


[UDSM] Railinc. “Umler Data Specification Manual”. (Effective 5/14/2015) Reference Version 15.2.2. Railinc. May 14, 2015. Accessed January 12, 2016.