Ship with BNSF – Energy – Coal - BNSF


We help keep the lights on! BNSF is a critical component in coal delivery for electricity generation, industrial use and export. We offer efficient, reliable delivery through proven routes with broad access to western U.S. coal production. BNSF is a vital link to low-cost Powder River Basin (PRB) coal.

Area Name Contact
New customers, rates Connect with BNSF Tel: 817 867-6337
Shipment questions Coal Desk 1-888-428-2673, option 4,2,1,1
Utility Coal
Name Contact
Tel: 817 867-6239
Tel: 817 867-6248
Tel: 817 867-6244
Tel: 817 867-6247
Industrial Coal
Name Contact
Tel: 817 867-6337

Tariff Prices

Rules Books and Accessorial Charges

Fuel Surcharge

A fuel surcharge is applicable on all BNSF coal shipments:


Area Name Contact
Coal opportunities Tel: 817 867-6337

Rotary Aluminum Gondola

Rotary Aluminum Gondola

All specifications are approximate and may vary between car builders and car owner specifications.

Specifications Table Diagram
Coupled Length 53.1 ft
Net Carrying Capacity 121 tons
Gross Weight on Rail 143 tons
Door Actuation N/A

Aluminum Bottom Discharge

Aluminum Bottom Discharge

All specifications are approximate and may vary between car builders and car owner specifications.

Specifications Table Diagram
Coupled Length** 53.1 ft
Net Carrying Capacity 117 tons
Gross Weight on Rail 143 tons
Door Actuation Remote Air Activated Release

** Required length for rotary gondolas but only required for bottom discharge equipment if equipped with rotary couplers.

Steel Manual Hopper

Steel Manual

All specifications are approximate and may vary between car builders and car owner specifications.

Specifications Table Diagram
Coupled Length** 53.1 ft
Net Carrying Capacity* 102 tons
Gross Weight on Rail* 131.5 tons
Door Actuation Manual Door Release

* Majority of steel equipment in coal service is restricted to 131.5 gross weight on rail. Some recently built equipment is capable of 143 tons.

** Required length for rotary gondolas but only required for bottom discharge equipment if equipped with rotary couplers.

Private Equipment Policy

The following section contains guidelines and information for the use of privately marked equipment in which BNSF is the origination line-haul carrier.

Private Equipment Guidelines

Private rail equipment must meet the Association of American Railroads' Circular OT-5 for Rules Governing the Assignment of Reporting Marks, Mechanical Designations, and Use. Privately marked equipment must obtain loading authority from the origin line-haul carrier and the equipment must be registered via the OT-5 process that is administered by Railinc. To register, you will need your CIF number, proper UMLER information and the car numbers to be registered. For more information, please visit Railinc's Loading Authority (OT-5) web site.

  1. Prior to securing privately marked equipment to be loaded at a location where BNSF is the origin line haul carrier, customers/controlling entities must discuss equipment options with their BNSF Sales representative.
  2. Private equipment controlling entities must submit an application for loading authority (OT-5) via the RailInc registration system. Applications must be approved prior to the privately marked equipment being moved for loading at BNSF line haul origin locations. Cars can be pre-approved via the RailInc registration system as well.
  3. BNSF may decline an OT-5 application for multiple reasons, including safety, mechanical factors or inadequate storage. Scroll down to see BNSF Mechanical requirements.
  4. Private equipment controlling entities are required to manage the flow (pipeline) of empty equipment moving to BNSF origin line haul locations or connecting carrier serving locations to preserve network fluidity.
  5. BNSF may require private equipment controlling entities to move equipment off-line at their expense to preserve network fluidity.
  6. Private equipment is subject to charges for equipment held for loading and unloading, and also equipment held for purposes other than loading or unloading.
  7. BNSF may terminate previously granted loading authority as a result of guidance of the AAR Interchange Rules, expiration date of lease connected to original OT-5 application, equipment becoming over age, inadequate storage, mechanical or safety issues.
  1. Why is BNSF scrutinizing my OT-5 application?
    Managing evolving network and operating conditions requires BNSF to closely review all requests we receive to add new equipment to our system and determine, among other factors, what impact individual requests could have on network fluidity, capacity, service and velocity. We are also engaged in an effort to address existing non-compliance on BNSF and across the industry of the OT-5 registration process (unregistered cars).
  2. Once I have provided storage and mechanical information, what allows you to decline my application?
    BNSF considers multiple factors when reviewing OT-5 applications. Applications can be declined for reasons including: safety, mechanical, lack of verifiable track storage space, or a combination of resulting factors that these reasons may cause.
  3. How does BNSF define "adequate" or "inadequate" storage?
    BNSF evaluates whether adequate storage exists by reference to the details and context of each individual OT-5 application. This includes, among other factors, the storage location(s) proposed by the applicant, the storage location entity's ability to confirm the storage capability represented on the application, the type of cars on the application and their anticipated use on the BNSF network.
  4. How do I protest an OT-5 rejection?
    BNSF will provide an explanation for all OT-5 application rejections. If an application has been declined, the application can be re-submitted after all details provided in the rejection notice have been resolved to BNSF's satisfaction. Any question concerning rejected applications should be directed to your BNSF Sales representative.
  5. What if I don't register or apply for OT-5?
    Under AAR Circular OT-5, approval MUST be obtained from the loaded origin line-haul carrier prior to loading private cars. BNSF reserves the right to address non-registered cars on an individual basis.


The following is not all inclusive however equipment must comply with all of the following key Mechanical Requirements:

  1. All interchange freight car owners must subscribe to the AAR Interchange Rules and be listed in FindUs.Rail.
  2. Cars must comply with and be maintained, by the owner, per the AAR Office and Field Manual Rules.
  3. All AAR Field Manual Rules (Sections A.1 and A.2 defects along with any component obsolete or prohibited in interchange) must be repaired or replaced prior to placement of the cars on BNSF.
  4. All cars must have yellow FRA 224 compliant reflectorization with the application date registered in Umler (no grandfathered material allowed).
  5. Angle cocks located below the coupler as shown in AAR Field Manual Rule 5 Figure 14 are prohibited.
  6. Greater than 268,000 Pound Gross Rail Load Freight Cars of any car type must meet one of the following criteria:
    1. Cars are approved by the AAR per Specification S-286 or
    2. Cars are approved by the AAR per Specification S-259 and the following is met: Cars must be equipped with constant contact side bearings, preferably long travel.
    3. Cars must be registered with the proper Star Code.
  7. 286,000 Pound Gross Rail Load Freight Cars of any car type less than 44 feet 11 inches in overall length must have route specifically approved by BNSF due to bridge loading concerns. The following link can assist in route selections: Rail Network Maps.
  8. Flat Cars of any type and capacity must be equipped with constant contact side bearings. Long travel constant contact side bearings are preferred.
  9. Covered Hoppers must have outlet gates that seal completely. The sealing member must be maintained in good condition and not allow product to bypass the gaskets/seals and leak onto the ground. All gates must be of a positive lock design with security seal capability.
  10. Cars equipped with one or more rotary couplers must be equipped with anti-gravity locks on both ends.
  11. All Cars must meet AAR and FRA Safety Appliance Standards.
  12. Gondola, and bulkhead flat cars must be equipped with crossover platform and associated safety appliances on both ends.
  13. Bottom dump coal hopper cars equipped with door line air hose must have this hose in the "low" configuration as to not block the crossover platform.
  14. Tank cars must be equipped with a Group R "weather resistant" slack adjuster

Using BNSF Customer Updates, you can find information regarding:

  • Service advisories: Temporary changes to service, including derailments, weather and holiday interruptions.
  • Network overviews: Information on the overall BNSF network and regional maintenance of way projects.
  • Facility updates: Information related to specific facilities.
  • Marketing news: New service or product offerings, or permanent changes to existing service.
  • Web updates: Information about new, or changes to existing, Web-enabled tools at
  • Pricing updates : Changes to existing public price authorities for coal traffic.

Coal Mine Guide

This map provides detailed information on the mines that BNSF serves.

Coal Network Map

This printable map provides an overall view of the BNSF network serving the coal industry - including coal deposits, mines, power plants and terminals.

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