The current Code of Practice defines the system of freight vehicle classification. The vehicle classification should consist of a four (4) character group indicating the owning system, the type of vehicle and operating characteristics.
The first character indicates the vehicle owner, or the operator with whom the vehicle is registered for maintenance purposes. (Some owners/operators no longer exist or have been taken over by others, and some codes are no longer used.)
A = Australian National Railways, Australia Southern Railroad (ASR), Australian Rail Track Corporation
B = BHP Billiton
C = Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia
E = Austrac
F = FreightLink
G = Great Northern Rail Services
J = John Holland Group
L = Lachlan Valley Rail Freight
M = Manildra Group
N = State Rail Authority of New South Wales (SRA), FreightRail, FreightCorp, Rail Access Corporation, Rail Services Australia, Rail Infrastructure Corporation, Pacific National, Railcorp
P = Private or Third Party Operators
Q = Queensland Railways (QR), Interail, QR National
R = National Rail Corporation, Pacific National
S = Silverton Rail
T = TNT, Toll Transport
V = Victorian Railways, V/Line, Freight Victoria, Freight Australia, Pacific National
W = Westrail, Australia Western Railroad
X = Australian Transportation Network, ATN Access, GrainCorp
Z - El Zorro.
Private owners or third party operators, other than those operators listed above, may apply to the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Inc. for the allocation of special classification letters and number ranges reserved for their exclusive use. The letter P may be allocated to operators/owners with less than 100 vehicles. ARA will determine and allocate the class letters and numbers and maintain a central register of this data.
The second character indicates the general category to which the vehicle belongs in accordance with the following:
B = Box car with solid walls
C = Coiled steel strip
D = Not a standard code. Used in NSW for Departmental (non-revenue) maintenance wagons and by FreightLink for crew cars.
E = Container car with electric wiring
F = Non-container flat car
G = Hopper car for grain (if desired)
H = Hopper car with bottom (gravity) discharge
K = Bulk steel products (slab, sections, plate, etc)
L = Louvre car
P = Hopper car with pneumatic pressure discharge
O = open wagon with or without side doors
M = Motor car carrier
Q = Container flat car including container wells
R = Refrigerated car, Container flat car (specially equipped) including container wells
S = Livestock cars
T = Tank cars
V = Brake vans
W = Well cars other than those specially equipped for container transport
Z = Miscellaneous service or special purpose vehicles not adequately covered by any of the above descriptions
The third character is allocated at the discretion of the owner or operator, and may be used to denote special operating characteristics, variations in construction within a class, specific products etc.
The fourth character of the alpha group indicates the authorised maximum track speed of the particular vehicle and bogie combination as follows:
A = vehicles not permitted to work at normal 'express freight' speeds; restricted to 70 km/h or less. (The original meaning of this code was for bogies with plain bearings.)
F = vehicles permitted to work at normal 'express freight' speeds, but which are not for bogie exchange; maximum speed 80 km/h.
H = High axle load vehicles restricted to specific applications and routes - generally speed limited.
L = vehicles suitable for limited bogie exchange operations, generally intrastate, but not complying fully with all requirements for general exchange/interstate working; maximum speed 80 km/h.
P = vehicles suitable for running at passenger train speeds and attaching to passenger trains. (No longer used - replaced by Y and Z.)
W = vehicles fitted with low profile bogies with roller bearings, suitable for unrestricted bogie exchange. (This code is was included from 1978 but is now rarely used.)
X = vehicles fitted with standard three-piece exchange bogies with roller bearings, suitable for unrestricted bogie exchange operations; maximum speed 80 km/h.
Y = vehicle and bogie combinations which are suitable for normal mainline speeds up to 115 km/h.
Z = vehicle and bogie combinations which are suitable for normal mainline speeds up to 130 km/h.
S = vehicle and bogie combinations which are suitable for normal mainline speeds up to 145 km/h.
T = vehicle and bogie combinations which are suitable for normal mainline speeds up to 160 km/h.
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