Equipment FAQs | BNSF

Equipment Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of railcar would I use with my commodity?

There is more detailed information on the main Equipment page, but the information below provides an overview of the basic car types.

  • Boxcars are used when dealing with palletized products, sacked products and other goods that need to be protected from the elements.
  • Refrigerated boxcars are similar to the regular boxcars, except these cars have refrigerated units on them to keep perishable items at the correct temperatures. These cars are sometimes called reefer cars.
  • Hoppers come in open top and covered versions. Hoppers have unloading funnels at the bottom of the car. Open tops are used for products like sand, clay, gravel, coal, etc., while closed tops are primary used for grains, sugar, flour and other bulk items that cannot get wet.
  • Gondolas are similar to open top hoppers, but they do not have a means of unloading from the bottom of the car. Gondolas primarily carry scrap steel, other steel products, lumber or any other product that can be lifted out of a railcar and be exposed to the elements.
  • Flatcars come in several different varieties and sizes. They are primarily used to haul lumber, machinery, pipe and many other large objects.
  • Tank cars are tankers used to move liquid products, such as oil, ethanol, biodiesel, chemicals, etc. BNSF does not own tank cars; therefore the customer must obtain these cars through lease or purchase.

How do I register my private railcar equipment?

All private equipment must be registered via the OT5 process that is administered by Railinc. Railinc will be the one-stop-shop to register private equipment that will be utilized on all Class I railroads. To register, you will need your CIF number, proper UMLER information, and the car numbers to be registered.

How do I order an empty railcar?

BNSF offers an internet option that will let you manage all parts of an equipment request for shipments that originate on BNSF. To request an empty BNSF railcar or modify, cancel or receive status on an existing request:

  1. Login to our website and go to the Ship tab.
  2. The first screen displayed to the user is the Summary page option to easily evaluate what next steps need to be taken for the day(s) or weeks to follow.
  3. From the Summary page, the user can view the daily equipment request summary by clicking the group number link.
  4. From the daily equipment request summary link, the user can click the equipment request number to view the details of the empty cars.
  5. The Modify link from the Summary page will now let the user reduce an equipment request below the number of cars applied. This was built in for those customers who needed the ability to change their request(s) as business changes. Accurate demand lets BNSF allocate equipment more efficiently.

To register for access, go to the Registration website.

How do I order a LOGS railcar?

LOGS equipment requests should be placed via electronic Equipment Request on this web site. Once you have been awarded a LOG, you will need to have your Internet equipment request profiles updated to include LOGS-designated equipment types. (Electronic equipment Requests is a requirement for LOGS participation.) If your facility is not already registered for electronic Equipment Request, you can register on the BNSF Registration page.

To register for access, go to the Registration website.

How do I report/reject a car if it is dirty?

To Report A Dirty Car:
You will use the upload pictures feature, which allows customers to report and attach up to three photos and comments for each dirty car. Customers may reject each car as dirty and will be assigned another car if within the acceptance window and equipment is available. Pictures may be submitted to report a car that was left dirty even if the car is not rejected.

To Access The Photo Upload Tool:
After logging in to, go to the “Application” section. Under the “Manage” tab, click on “Dirty Car Picture Upload.”

How do I load a car safely?

To access information regarding safe loading practices, please see loading and shipment safety .

How do I ship a dimensional load?

A shipment qualifies as dimensional if it's over 11 feet wide, and/or over 17 feet tall from the rail. Because the car types are different heights, the actual height for a dimensional shipment can vary. It's important to know if your shipment is dimensional because BNSF must go through many steps to ensure your product can be moved via rail. Read more about dimensional shipments.


How do I become a new customer?

If you are a new customer and your company has never shipped on BNSF before, please fill out our New Customer Application for carload or intermodal.

If your company has shipped with BNSF in the past, and you wish to become a new website user, please register on our website.

Helpful Contacts

Name Contact
Equipment Support Tel: 888-428-2673



Territories are based on customer headquarters location, please locate the corresponding number in the contact list below the map:


Shipping Questions 

Our Customer Support team will answer questions about your shipment, including billing, service, etc Customer Support
Our Equipment team will help answer your questions regarding equipment 888-428-2673


Helpful Links

Quickly find out who is served by BNSF Serving Carrier Reciprocal Switch Inquiry Tool 
Easily locate a transloader on BNSF network Premier Transloader Directory
Locate your new site near BNSF or have your existing site served by BNSF Economic Development