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To: BNSF Industrial Products Customers

AAR Open Top Loading Rules Revisions Effective August 20, 2008

BNSF has been advised that the Association of American Railroads (AAR) has issued revisions to its Open Top Loading Rules, effective Wednesday, August 20, 2008.

Because of recent increases in safety concerns due to loose scrap materials falling from gondola rail cars, Figure 87, Section 2 of the Open Top Loading Rules Manual has been revised to restrict loose scrap metal to be loaded below the top of rail car sides and ends at any point of the load.

This means that all scrap loading can be no higher than the top chord of gondolas (top of car side walls.) Please see the attached AAR Early Warning Advisory (Circular C-10796) for more information, including loading diagrams.

MN 08-15_AAR Open Top Loading rules - announcement.pdf

As of August 20, any scrap load in a gondola car not meeting the revised open top loading requirements will be stopped and held. The shipper will be contacted and will be responsible for reducing the load to meet the revised standards, as well as any expense associated with the handling and hauling away of scrap reduced from the car. This is similar to BNSF’s process used for cars that have been overloaded.

BNSF’s gondola fleet used in scrap metal consists of 66-foot and 52-foot gondolas, which are high-sided and high-capacity cars. We anticipate little impact to your ability to efficiently load and utilize BNSF’s fleet of gondolas.

For questions, relating to loading compliance, please contact Gerry Palazzolo, Manager Open Top and Special Loads, at 817-352-1454.

Your business is important to us. Thank you for choosing BNSF as your transportation service provider.

If you have any questions, please send an email to