Rail Car Cleanliness & Condition

Union Pacific strives to provide clean and safe rail cars to our customers. Cleaning cars left dirty by the last consignee is an unnecessary expense that is passed on to all customers in the form of higher rates. By leaving a rail car in good condition, free of debris, it can be directed to the next shipper for loading, ensuring car quality and improved equipment availability.

By following these guidelines, we can:

  • Increase car availability
  • Avoid car delays
  • Minimize safety concerns
  • Reduce claims
  • Reduce time reporting and handling rejected dirty cars
  • Reduce cost of delayed loads

National Tariff

As a user of rail cars, under the Uniform Freight Classification 6000-M Rule 27, a consignee must remove all lading (unless otherwise provided by applicable rate tariff non-railroad owned dunnage, blocking, bracing, strapping, and any other non-railroad owned material that was part of the inbound shipment and secure interior equipment.

For additional information regarding loading and unloading of rail cars please refer to the Uniform Freight Classification 6000-Series, Rule 27.

Union Pacific Tariffs

Industrial Products

Failure to remove all dunnage from a rail car will result in an assessment of a "Dirty Car" charge of $705.00. This charge will be assessed to the party (shipper or receiver) last having control of the equipment. EXCEPTION: Covered Hoppers previously containing STCCs mentioned in Tariff 16E, will be assessed charge of $1,305.00 per car. Refer to UP Tariff 16-E, Item 53, Car Cleaning Charge for more information.

Grain Products and Chemicals

Failure to remove all dunnage from a rail car will result in an assessment of a "Dirty Car" charge of $705.00. This charge will be assessed to the party (shipper or receiver) last having control of the equipment. Refer to UP Tariff 6007, Item 278, Car Cleaning Charge for more information.

Inspection Checklist by Car Type

To ensure Union Pacific rail cars are released in accordance with guidelines outlined above, Union Pacific customers are encouraged to use the checklists below before releasing a railcar.  Report damage, defects or safety issues by accessing Union Pacific's Web Equipment Placement & Release system (user ID and password required).  You can also call Union Pacific's National Customer Service Center at 1-800-272-8777.

Boxcar Check List

  • Clean and remove all debris
  • Inspect for damage or defects
  • Close and secure all doors
  • Use of excessive force with a mechanical device on doors is prohibited
  • Remove USDA placards that have expired

Boxcar Damage or Defects

Doors

  • Top track damage
  • Bottom track damage
  • Door hanger damage or missing
  • Door stop and hold open devices are loose or unsecured or missing
  • Door appliances, operating rods, etc are loose or non-operational or missing
  • Bulging door

Interior

  • Broken or soft boards

Coil Cars

  • Clean and remove all debris
  • Inspect for damage or defects
  • Replace and secure load dividers (crossbars) with pins

Covered Hoppers

  • Ensure all product has been emptied from all compartments
  • Clean exterior roof of loose or compacted debris or spillage
  • Clean track of any excess spillage or residue
  • Inspect for damage or defects
  • Close and lock outlet gates
  • Close and secure outlet caps
  • Close and lock hatches

Covered Hopper Damage or Defects:

Gates

  • Gate is non-operational
  • Gate locks do not function properly or are non-operational
  • Gate slides/tracks do not function properly or are non-operational
  • Capstans do not function properly or are non-operational
  • Missing slides or other gate parts
  • Gate leakage or bad gate seal
  • Stops are cracked, broken, or damaged

Roof

  • Significant dents or roof cracks
  • Missing hatch
  • Leakage or bad hatch seal
  • Hatch will not lock
  • Hatch will not close
  • Batten bars damaged or non-functional
  • Broken walkways

Open Hoppers

  • Ensure all product has been emptied from all compartments
  • Loosen and remove any hardened residue
  • Clean track of any excess spillage or residue
  • Inspect for damage or defects
  • Close and lock outlet gates
  • Close and secure outlet caps

Flat Cars

  • Clean and remove all debris including shipper dunnage
  • Inspect for damage or defects
  • Reset all cables on their respective spinals, and secure

Flat Car Car Damage or Defects:

  • Broken or soft boards
  • Missing parts

Gondolas

  • Ensure all product has been unloaded
  • Loosen any compacted residue
  • Sweep to remove any remaining residue
  • Clean track of any excess spillage or residue
  • Inspect for damage or defects

Refrigerated Box Cars

  • Clean and remove all debris
  • Inspect for damage or defects
  • Close and secure all doors
  • Use of excessive force with a mechanical device on doors is prohibited

Tank Cars

  • Ensure all product has been unloaded
  • Clean track, rail car wheels and safety appliances of any excess spillage or residue
  • Inspect for damage or defects
  • Close and lock outlet gates
  • Close and secure outlet caps
  • Close and lock hatches
  • Nails, boards, wood, cardboard, paper, and banding on the floor and/or attached to floors and sidewalls
  • Spilled product
  • Dirt or oil left by customer vehicles for loading or unloading
  • Trash or garbage left in railcar while railcar is parked at customer location

Pooled Cars

For those cars assigned to a customer or TCS pool, the assigned customer is responsible for all cleaning of the car.  The shipper is to monitor pooled car numbers to ensure that dirty pooled cars received from their consignees are not reported as a dirty car unsuitable for loading to Union Pacific; rather, dirty pooled cars are to be cleaned at the assigned customer's expense.

Identifying UP Controlled Cars

UP controlled cars are equipment leased or owned by Union Pacific. These cars can be identified by:

  • Cars are in an AAR Pool starting with 802
  • UP is the lessee in EMIS
  • Car is stenciled with one of the following marks: ARMN, CHTT, CMO, CNW, CTRN, DRGW, MKT, MP, SP, SSW, SSWN, UP, WP
  • Check a rail car mark.

Releasing a Dirty Car

To notify Union Pacific of any rail car judged by a customer to be unsuitable for loading, use the Union Pacific Web Equipment Placement and Release system (user ID and password required).

Reporting a Dirty Car

The Dirty Car Cleaning program was designed to improve the quality and availability of rail cars for UP customers. Be sure to submit photographs of reported dirty cars (user ID and password required) to help Union Pacific visually document customers not following unloading guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the difference between a dirty car and a bad order car?

A:  Dirty cars only need to be cleaned, and bad order cars need mechanical work due to damage, defects, or safety issues.

Q. If a UP car is placed by another railroad, who do I report the dirty car to?

A:  Report damage, defects or safety issues by accessing Union Pacific's Web Equipment Placement and Release system (user ID and password required).  You can also call Union Pacific's National Customer Service Center at 1-800-272-8777.