Seven Steps to Shipping Dimensional Loads

A dimensional load is different from a typical rail shipment due to its greater size or weight. Whether you are shipping machinery or other oversized products, Union Pacific has the experience to customize a comprehensive solution that meets your shipping needs. The seven steps below walk you through the process and offers a suggested timeline to ensure we meet your shipping needs.

  • Steps 1-3, Ten Weeks in Advance
  • Step 4, Eight Weeks in Advance
  • Step 5, Six Weeks in Advance
  • Steps 6-7, Three Weeks in Advance

Step 1: Determine if it’s Dimensional

To ensure timely arrival, it is important to establish the parameters of your shipment early on.

A dimensional load has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Width greater than 11' 0"
  • Height greater than 17' 0" above the top of the rail
  • Loads that overhang the ends of the rail car
  • Loads weighing more than 220,000 lbs. or requiring more than four axles

If any of the above criteria apply, the shipment is considered dimensional and must receive clearance through the Union Pacific Clearance department prior to shipment. You must have an Association of American Railroads (AAR) approved loading figure before moving forward with these next steps. If you do not have an AAR approved loading figure, please contact Union Pacific’s Shipment Quality Team at 402-544-6531.

Step 2: Get Clearance

Getting clearance begins by submitting a clearance request form (User ID and password required).

If additional resources are needed to handle the dimensional shipment, Union Pacific will initiate a Dimensional Service Review (DSR) to determine if operating resources are available to handle your shipment.

Step 3: Get a Freight Rate

For a Dimensional Service Review, visit Union Pacific’s Price & Transit Inquiry System to determine your rate or request a price quote. Public tariff rates are available within the Price & Transit Inquiry using tariffs UP 4467 (transformers, turbines and generators) and UP 3435 (various machinery).

If your shipment requires a DSR, please contact your Marketing & Sales representative to obtain a rate for this type of shipment, as public rates are not applicable.

Note: Clearance and DSR approval must be received before your Marketing & Sales representative can provide you with a rate.

Step 4: Industrial Track Agreement

An Industrial Track Agreement is a contract between Union Pacific and the customer for rights to utilize Union Pacific or private track, or to lease track from Union Pacific. The track agreement allows Union Pacific to evaluate each shipment and identify the best place to load and unload the freight.

When you submit a clearance request online, a Rail Access Review is generated to start the track agreement process. Union Pacific will develop the track agreement and upon completion, will send to the customer for final signature. An Industrial Track Agreement must be in effect before a car can be ordered or shipped. You can work with your Marketing & Sales representative to get an update on your track agreement status or visit the Industrial Development section on our website to learn more about the track agreement process.

Please visit Industrial Development for additional information.

Step 5: Order a Rail Car

The Union Pacific Clearance Team will determine what kind of rail car is needed. From there, you will order rail cars from the originating railroad.

Standard flat cars and idlers can be ordered online. To request heavy-duty flat cars, contact Union Pacific’s Dimensional Clearance department at 800-544-0541 or fax your request to 800-228-5976.

Step 6: Loading and Securing Your Shipment

The shipper responsible for loading, tying down and securing the load to the rail car. Prior to movement, the shipper must provide center of gravity measurements on all loads. Final drawings depicting loading arrangement, including center of gravity in all three dimensions, should be faxed to:

Union Pacific Shipment Quality
Attn: Senior Engineer - Shipment Quality
Fax: 402-233-3333
Phone: 402-544-6531

The Union Pacific Mechanical department must conduct a mechanical inspection prior to a car’s release. All loads must be approved in order to receive final clearance and be moved. To arrange an inspection, contact the Union Pacific Clearance department at 800-544-0541.

Bill of Lading must also be submitted online. To arrange billing for shipments requiring the use of idler cars or bolstered loads, please contact the Union Pacific Dimensional Clearance department at 800-544-0541.

Please visit Shipment Quality for additional information.

Step 7: Submit Billing Instructions

You can monitor your shipment online or call our National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 800-272-8777.

Learn More

For additional information on shipping dimensional loads, contact our Dimensional Team at 402-544-4805 or 402-544-4718.