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Home Freight Spatial Employment Site Index
Full Documentation

Rail Waybill Data

Overview

The annual Rail Waybill sample contains shipment data from a stratified sample of rail waybills submitted by freight railroads to the Surface Transportation Board, previously the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). The database has national coverage and is collected by the AAR. The data is collected annually.

The Rail Waybill sample contains public-use, non-confidential information. The data contains origins and destination points, types of commodity, number of cars, tons, revenue, length of haul, participating railroads, and interchange locations. The database is available for purchase for the AAR on yearly public release tapes. For the years 1988 to 1992, the database is also available on the Rail Waybill Data: 1988-1992 CD-ROM, which can be obtained from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The CD contains five years of data for railroads that terminate over 4,500 cars per year or more than five percent of each state's traffic. Movements are reported at the Bureau Economic Analysis (BEA)-to-BEA level (or multi-county BEA areas) and the 5-digit Standard Transportation Commodity Code level. The public-use version of the sample contains non-confidential data. For a particular commodity, the origin or destination BEA is not included unless there are at least three freight stations in the BEA and there are at least two more freight stations than railroads in the BEA.

Data Dictionary

The data is structured in ASCII format. Each year contains greater than 350,000 records which are 249 characters long. Each record is divided into 249 "columns" and each field occupies a designated number of columns. For example, the Waybill Date field is of the form mmddyy and occupies columns 1 to 6. Likewise, the Actual Weight in Tons field is a 4 digit number and occupies column 48 to 54. The column positions are not included .

Waybill Date (Month, Day, Year) (6 digit numeric)

The waybill date is the date on which the originating railroad prepares the waybill.

Accounting Period (Month, Year) (4 digit numeric)

The accounting period is the month and year during which the study waybill is entered into the railroad's revenue accounting system. This information is subsequently reflected in the net income statement of the company for the specified account month.

Number of Carloads (4 digit numeric)

The total number of carloads on the sampled waybill.

Car Ownership Code (1 character alpha)

  1. Privately-owned car; (R) Railroad-owned car.

AAR Car Type (4 character alpha-numeric)

Alpha-numeric code giving a general physical description of the type of car. (Refer to Section VI, Exhibit D, of the UMLER Specification Manual.) Refer to Appendix for additional information.

AAR Mechanical Designation (4 character alpha)

Mechanical designation is dependent on AAR car type. (Refer to Section V, Item F of the UMLER Specification Manual.)

ICC Car Type (2 digit numeric)

The ICC car type is inferred from the AAR car type, as described in item 5, and corresponds to the line number on ICC Form 710 for type of car. Refer to Appendix for additional information.

TOFC/COFC Plan Code (3 character alpha-numeric - third position always blank)

The Trailer on Flat Car/ Container on Flatcar (TOFC/COFC) plan code must be entered in the first position of this field. If possible, when different TOFC/COFC plans are used during the course of the movement, the code for the applicable plan at termination is entered in the first position of the field, and the code for the applicable plan at origination is entered in the second position of the field. For example, '24' indicates that the TOFC movement started on Plan 2 1/2 and terminated on Plan 2.In cases where this delineation is not possible, Code 9 (indicating a combination of TOFC/COFC plans) is entered. If the waybill covers multiple trailers/containers with different plans,the plan code used for the first trailer/container is entered. Valid TOFC/COFC plan number codes are listed below:

(0) Not a piggyback shipment; (1) TOFC/COFC Plan 1; (2) TOFC/COFC Plan 2; (3) TOFC/COFC Plan 2 1/4; (4) TOFC/COFC Plan 2 1/2; (5) TOFC/COFC Plan 3; (6) TOFC/COFC Plan 4; (7) TOFC/COFC Plan 5; (8) All other TOFC/COFC plan numbers; (9) Combination of TOFC/COFC plan numbers; (X) Unknown

Number of TOFC/COFC Units (4 digit numeric)

The total number of TOFC/COFC units reported on the sampled waybill.

Trailer/Container Ownership Code (1 character alpha)

  1. Privately-owned Trailer/Container; (R) Railroad-owned Trailer/Container

Trailer/Container Type (1 character alpha)

(T) TOFC Trailer; (C) COFC Container; (U) Unknown

Hazardous/Bulk-Material in Boxcar (1 character alpha)

(B) Bulk, non-hazardous material (STCC 50 series), moved in a Boxcar (H) Hazardous material (STCC 49 series) moved in any type of car (blank) neither of the above

Commodity Code (STCC / non-HAZMAT) (5 digit numeric)

The Standard Transportation Commodity Code (STCC) identifies the product designation for the transported commodity. This field includes the first five digits of the seven-digit STCC; however, STCC 19 series commodities are reported only at the 2-digit level. See Appendix for list of two to five digit STCC header!'. Note: This field does not include Hazardous materials (series 49xxx) or Bulk materials in Boxcars (series 50xxx). All STCC 49 and 50 series codes have been translated to actual product commodity codes.

Billed Weight in Tons (7 digit numeric)

The billed weight of lading, calculated in tons.

Actual Weight in Tons (7 digit numeric)

The actual weight of lading (if provided), calculated in tons.

Freight Revenue ($) (9 digit numeric)

The total line-haul freight revenue, from origin to destination, shown in dollars.

Transit Charges ($) (9 digit numeric)

Transit charges, where applicable, shown in dollars.

Miscellaneous Charges ($) (9 digit numeric)

The total of all miscellaneous charges (excluding transit charges and freight revenue) shown in dollars.

Inter/Intra State Code (inferred) (1 digit numeric)

Normally, an Intrastate routing is inferred if the origin and destination states are the same. However, an Interstate routing is inferred in cases where the origin and destination stations are within a state but the customary routing exits and reenters the state. Interstate movements also include import, export, ex-lake and lake cargo movements.

(1) Interstate; (2) Intrastate; (9) Unknown;

Type of Move (inferred) (1 digit numeric)

(0) Neither import nor export; (1) Imported commodity; (2) Exported commodity; (3) Commodity imported and exported, e.g., land bridge type traffic; (9) Unknown

All Rail/Intermodal Code (1 digit numeric)

  1. All Rail; (2) Intermodal - a continuous movement involving at least one railroad and another mode.; (9) Unknown; (Blank) Not reported on hardcopy waybills.;

Type of Move Via Water (inferred) (1 digit numeric);

(0) Not a water movement; (1) Ex-Lake (from Great Lakes to reporting railroad); (2) Lake Cargo (Rail to Great Lakes); (3) Intercoastal - a continuous movement by U.S. rail which is part of an Atlantic Ocean (or Gulf) and Pacific Ocean movement, in either direction; (4)Coastwise - a continuous movement involving rail at either end of a coastwise movement between ports on the East Coast (including Gulf) or between ports on the West Coast. ; (5)Inland Waterways - a rail movement in combination with a barge movement on rivers and canals (other than the Great Lakes) that is not considered a part of the rail movement, e.g., rail car ferry.;(9) Unknown; (Blank) Not reported on hardcopy waybills.

Transit Code (1 digit numeric)

(0) Not a transit movement; (1) Transit - indicates that the shipment is the outbound movement from a transit point, where some service has been performed, to the destination point (which can be another transit point).; (9) Unknown

Substituted Truck-for-Rail Service (1 digit numeric)

(0) Not substituted truck-for-rail service; (1) Study movement involves substituted truck-for-rail service. (For example, a rail carrier may be authorized by the ICC to institute truck for rail service when rail service is abandoned or a track is closed for various reasons.); (9) Unknown; (Blank) Not reported on hardcopy waybills.

Rebill Code (1 digit numeric)

(0) Not a rebill; (1) Rebill - indicates that the shipment is rebilled at a portion; of the through rate from origin to destination, and involves non-through billing railroads.; (9) Unknown; (Blank) Not reported on hardcopy waybills.

Estimated Short Line Miles (rounded) (4 digit numeric)

The short line miles (shortest rail distance between origin and destination), rounded up to the nearest ten miles.

Stratum Identification (1 digit numeric)

Carloads per Waybill Sampling Rate

(1) MRI 1-2 1 of 40; (2) MRI 3-15 1 of 12; (3) MRI 16-601 of 4; (4) MRI 61-100 1 of 3; (5) MRI Over 100 1 of 2; (6) Hardcopy 1-5 1 of 100; (7) Hardcopy 6-25 1 of 10; (8) Hardcopy Over 25 1 of 5

Subsample Code (1 digit numeric)

For MRI waybills, this coding (1, 2, 3, or 4) identifies the individual subsamples obtained under the computerized sampling procedure. This field is initialized to a blank for hardcopy waybills, but a replicate subsample code is added after completion of the master file, using the following formula:

Code = Serial Number - ((Serial Number / 4) * 4) + 1 truncated integer

These subsample code numbers are used in a statistical fashion to estimate the standard deviation, or accuracy, of any level for the particular sample.

Exact Expansion Factor (5 digit numeric)

The exact expansion factor is calculated for each waybill, according to the formula shown below, and is used to expand the car, ton, trailer/container and revenue statistics to 100% levels. The format of this factor is 'nnn.nn' with an implied decimal point.

Factor = (Population count/Sample count) * 100

Theoretical Expansion Factor (3 digit numeric)

The theoretical expansion factor is the inverse of the sampling rate, as indicated by the Stratum Identification number (item 27), and is used to expand the car, ton, trailer/container and revenue statistics to 100% levels. The format of this factor is an integer value.

Number of Interchanges (1 digit numeric)

This figure represents the total number of interchanges between railroads in the route.

Origin BEA Area (3 digit numeric)

The Business Economic Area code for the reported waybill movement's origin location. Refer to attachment, entitled "Department of Commerce - Bureau of Economic Analysis, Business Economic Area (BEA) Codes," for further details. Also, refer to BEA Economic Areas revised in 1977 by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Origin Freight Rate Territory (1 digit numeric)

The freight rate territory, as defined by the ICC, in which the reported waybill movement originated. Freight rate territories are imputed from ICC-defined Freight Rate Areas, and coded as follows:

(0) Unknown

(1) Official Territory: Commencing at the eastern terminus of the United States-Canadian boundary on the Atlantic Ocean and proceeding westwardly along the border to the Straits of Mackinac, thence southwestwardly across Lake Michigan to Kewaunee, Wisconsin, thence southward along the shore of Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, thence southward along the line of the Chicago and North Western Railway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, thence northwest along the MilwaukeeRailway to Rugby Junction, Wisconsin, thence south along the Soo Line to Duplainville, Wisconsin, thence west along the Milwaukee Railway through Montfort Junction, Wisconsin, to Benton, Wisconsin, thence southwest by air line to the intersection of the Wisconsin-Illinois boundary with the Mississippi River, thence south along the Mississippi River to the mouth of the Ohio River, thence eastward along the Ohio to Cincinnati, Ohio, thence eastward along the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway to Kenova, West Virginia, thence eastward along the Norfolk and Western Railway to its intersection with the former Virginian Railway (now Norfolk and Western) west of Roanoke, Virginia, thence east along the former Virginian Railway to Suffolk, Virginia, thence northeast along the Norfolk and Western Railway to Norfolk, Virginia, and then northeastward along the Atlantic Coast to the point of beginning.

(2) Southern Territory: Commencing at Norfolk, Virginia, and proceeding westwardly along the southern border of Official Territory as described in (1) above, to the mouth of the Ohio River, thence south along the Mississippi River to its mouth and thence east and north along the Gulf and Atlantic Coast to the point of beginning.

(3) Western Trunk Line Territory: Commencing at the Straits of Mackinac and following the international boundary northeastward and thence westward to the western boundary of North Dakota, thence south along the North Dakota and South Dakota-Montana line to Sheridan, Wyoming, thence southward along the line of the Burlington system to the Colorado-New Mexico line, thence eastward following the northern boundary of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas to the Mississippi River, thence northward along the Mississippi River to the Wisconsin-Illinois line, and thence back to the point of beginning following the northwest boundary of Official Territory, as described in (1) above.

(4) Southwestern Territory: Commencing at the intersection of the Missouri Arkansas boundary with the Mississippi River and proceeding westwardalong the southern boundary of Missouri, Kansas and Colorado to the point where the Santa Fe Railway crosses the Colorado-New Mexico line, thence southward along the Santa Fe Railway to El Paso, Texas, thence following the international boundary to the mouth of the Rio Grande River, thence along the Gulf Coast to the mouth of the Mississippi River and thence northward along the Mississippi River to the point of beginning.

(5) Mountain-Pacific Territory: That portion of the United States which lies west of the western boundaries of Western Trunk Line and SouthwesternTerritories as described in (3) and (4) above.

Interchange State #1 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reportedwaybill's first junction interchange station is located.

Interchange State #2 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reportedwaybill's second junction interchange station is located.

Interchange State #3 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reported waybill's third junction interchange station is located.

Interchange State #4 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reported waybill's fourth junction interchange station is located.

Interchange State #5 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reported waybill's fifth junction interchange station is located.

Interchange State #6 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reported waybill's sixth junction interchange station is located.

Interchange State #7 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reported waybill's seventh junction interchange station is located.

Interchange State #8 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reported waybill's eighth junction interchange station is located.

Interchange State #9 (2 character alpha)

The two character abbreviation for the state in which the reported waybill's ninth junction interchange station is located.

Termination BEA Area (3 digit numeric)

The Business Economic Area code for the reported waybill movement's termination location. Refer to attachment, entitled "Department of Commerce -Bureau of Economic Analysis, Business Economic Area (BEA) Codes," for further details. Also, refer to BEA Economic Areas revised in 1977 by the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Termination Freight Rate Territory (1 digit numeric)

The freight rate territory, as defined by the ICC, in which the reported waybill movement terminated. See item 33 for full descriptions.

(0) Unknown; (1) Official Territory; (2) Southern Territory; (3) Western Trunk Line Territory; (4) Southwestern Territory; (5) Mountain-Pacific Territory;

Reporting, Period Length (1 digit numeric)

  1. Monthly; (2) Quarterly;

Car Capacity (5 digit numeric)

Cubic foot capacity of car (for all car types except flat).

Nominal Car Capacity (3 digit numeric)

Numeric capacity, in thousands of pounds, as stenciled on the car and defined in the AAR interchange Rule 70.

Tare Weight of Car (4 digit numeric)

The actual light weight (not an average), in hundredweight, for each car.

Outside Length (5 digit numeric)

Distance between pulling faces of the couplers in normal position. The first three digits represent feet. The last 2 digits represent inches, rounded up to the next inch in the case of a fraction. Example: 5 1/4" = 6".

Outside Width (4 digit numeric)

Measurement of outside width of car, including attachments projecting to greatest extent. The first two digits represent feet. The last two digits represent inches, rounded up to next inch in the case of a fraction.

Outside Height (4 digit numeric)

Measurement from top of rail to top of eaves at side of car. The first two digits represent feet. The last two digits represent inches, rounded up to the next inch in the case of a fraction.

Extreme Outside Height (4 digit numeric)

Measurement from top of rail to location where extreme height occurs. The first two digits represent feet. The last two digits represent inches, rounded up to the next inch in the case of a fraction.

Type of Wheel Bearings and Brakes (1 character alpha)

(A) Plain bearings and composition brake shoes; (B) Roller bearings and composition brake shoes; (C) Plain bearings and cast iron brake shoes; (D) Roller bearings and cast iron brake shoes; (E) Roller bearings, composition brake shoes and supplemental car stability device; (F) Roller bearings, cast iron brake shoes and supplemental car stability device; (G) Roller bearings, composition brake shoes, and empty/load brake system; (H) Roller bearings, composition brake shoes, supplemental car stability device, empty/load brake system; (I) Roller bearings, cast iron brake shoes and empty/load brake system; (J) Roller bearings, cast iron brake shoes, supplemental car stability device, and empty/load brake system ,

Number of Axles (1 character alpha-numeric)

(2) 2 ;(4) 4 ;(6) 6; ;(8) 8 ;(9) 9 ;(0) 10; ;(A) 11 ;(B) 12 ;(C) 13;(D) 14 ;(E) 15 ;(F) 16;(G) 17 ;(H) 18 ;(I) 19;(J) 20 ;(K) 21 ;(L) 22;(M) 23 ;(N) 24 ;(0) 25;(P) 26 ;(Q) 27 ;(R) 28;(S) 29 ;(T) 30 ;(U) 31;(V) 32 ;(W) 33 ;(X) 34;(Y) 35 ;(Z) 36 or more

Draft Gear (2 digit numeric)

Coding is car type dependent; refer to Section 1 of the UMLER Specification Manual.

Number of Articulated Units ( 1 digit numeric)

An articulated car consists of two or more cars permanently coupled together in such a manner that they cannot be separated for operations in interchange service as individual cars. Such cars will be operated under one reporting mark and one reporting number. The reported code indicates the number of units permanently attached. The minimum is 2, while 9 indicates nine or more units.

AAR Error Codes (2 digit numeric, repeated 25 times)

Up to 25 two-digit error codes are appended to the end of each waybill record. Refer to the following sub-section, entitled "AAR Waybill Error Codes and Messages," for specific error code definitions.

Routing Error Flag (1 character alpha)

This field contains either a 'T' (true) or an 'F' (false). An 'F' indicates that ALK was not able to sufficiently identify the actual origin or termination point of the route, so as to calculate a carrying distance for one or more railroads in the route. An 'F' in this field will be accompanied by a '99999' in the total distance field (and one or more railroad distance fields), and '99999' in all of the split revenue fields.

Expanded Carloads (6 digit numeric)

The number of carloads (item 3) multiplied by the expansion factor (item 30).

Expanded Tons (9 digit numeric)

The billed weight in tons (item 14) multiplied by the expansion factor (item 30).

Expanded Freight Revenue (11 digit numeric)

The total freight revenue (item 16) multiplied by the expansion factor (item 30).

Expanded Trailer/Container Count (6 digit numeric)

The number of TOFC/COFC units (item 9) multiplied by the expansion factor (item 30).

Examples of State Use of Data

General Reference:

Eric Wolfe, Linde, W. The Carload Waybill Statistics: Usefulness for Economic Analysis. In Transportation Research Forum Vol 36, no. 2 1997 pg 26-41.

Charles Apffel, Jayawardana, J., Ahsar, A., Horn, K., McLaughlin, R., Hochstein, A. Freight Components in Louisiana's Statewide Intermodal Transportation Plan. Transportation Research Record 1552.

The waybill data was used in describing baseline flows of rail freight data.

Smadi and Maze Statewide Truck Transportation Planning: Methodology and Case Study. TRR 1522.

The Authors use the Waybill data to estimate commodity flows, prior to the 1993 CFS.

Minnesota Freight Flows-1990. MNDOT.

The Waybill data was used in to develop inventory of rail freight for statewide planning effort.

Examples of Metropolitan Planning Organizations Use of Data

Twin Ports Trends 1994 Social and Economic Trends for the Duluth Superior Metropolitan Area

Description of Database (DTDS)

Abstract: This data base contains rail shipment data such as origin and destination points, type of commodity, number of cars, tons, revenue, length of haul, participating railroads, and interchange locations. The waybill sample contains confidential information and is used primarily by Federal and state agencies. The public-use version of the sample, however, contains aggregated nonconfidential data. Movements are aggregated to the BEA-to-BEA level at the 5-digit STCC level. For a particular commodity, the origin or destination BEA is not included unless there are at least three freight stations in the BEA and there are at least two more freight stations than railroads in the BEA.

Source of Data: Annual stratified sample of waybills for railroads which terminate over 4,500 cars per year.

Attributes:

Geographic Coverage of Data: National

Time Span of Data Source: 1991

First Developed: Unknown

Update Frequency: Annual

Last Update: 1993

Number of Records: >350,000

File Size: Not Available

File Format: ASCII

Media: 9-track Tape, 6250 bpi, CD-ROM

Significant Features and/or Limitations: The waybill sample contains confidential information and is used primarily by Federal and state agencies. There is, however, a public-use version that contains aggregate nonconfidential data.

Corresponding Printed Source: Carload Waybill Statistics: Territorial Distribution, Traffic and Revenue by Commodity Class

Sponsoring Organization: Interstate Commerce Commission

Performing Organization: Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Office of Policy Systems

Availability:
CD-ROM: DOT/Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 400 7th Street, SW, Room 2104, Washington, DC 20590; telephone, (202)366-3282; fax, (202)366-3640.
Tape: Mr. James Nash, ICC, Office of Economics, 12th and Constitution, Washington, DC 20423; telephone, (202)927-5740; fax, (202)927-6225. Printed Source: National Technical Information System, Springfield, VA 22161; telephone, (703)487-4650

Contact for Additional Information:
James Nash, Data Manager
ICC, Office of Economics
(202)927-5740

 


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