Sec. 1-General Rules (Rev.-9-1984)
Rule 1. Inspection and Compliance.
The responsibility for properly preparing a load for movement by rail is defined for the shipper by the
Uniform Freight Classification Rule 27, Section No. 3.
The responsibility of the rail carrier, when accepting open top loads is governed by Rule 89, Section "B",
paragraph 1, sub-paragraph (a) of the AAR Interchange Rules "Field Manual."
Shippers must observe the drawings and specifications of an applicable figure where a figure is involved,
as well as all applicable rules regulating the safe loading of freight as published herein; and must also inspect shipments
to see that they are properly and safely secured and that all applicable details in Rules 1 to 21 inclusive, as well as all
applicable figures, where figures are involved, have been complied with in all cases, before shipments are tendered to
Drawings depicting specific figures are provided for guidance in the preparation of loads. When such loads
are prepared or offered in Interchange, the application or placement of securement items may vary from the detailed
drawings. In all instances, the specifications of the specific figure will govern allowing for minor variances in placement
of securement details and provided no securement items have been omitted.
Loads of hazardous materials must conform to the regulations of the agency of authority of the countries
within which the shipment will move.
Unless otherwise specified, all of the figures in Section Nos. 3, 4 or 6, covering various types of vehicles,
are applicable only when vehicles are empty.
Unless otherwise specified, shippers must implement all new figures, revisions to figures, or instructions
covered by circulars within but not later than three months from the date shown on such releases. This period is to allow
for the dissemination of information and to permit for depletion of securement and blocking materials that may be on
hand to provide for the procurement of new securement materials. When It is necessary to correct a hazardous practice,
a circular letter will be Issued stating that the specifications of a new figure or revisions to an existing figure are effective
immediately. When this occurs, the three month provision is nullified and will be implemented as soon as received by
the shipper and originating carrier. In such cases, the shipper and originating carrier will be notified by wire or by other
expeditious means. Where clarification of the intent of a rule or specifications of a figure is requested and no change is
made to the securement details or where editorial changes in a rule and/or figure is required, the Open Top Loading
Rules Committee has the prerogative to inform the industry of such clarifications and/or editorial changes with a circular
letter, which may specify an effective date, to be no later than three (3) months after the date of the circular letter.
When a load is received in interchange not in compliance with a figure, circular letter, or revised pages
with an effective date for implementation, acceptability will be governed by the waybill, provided it was issued prior to the
established effective date.
In the loading of such cars the hazards connected with speed, multiple track railroads, tunnels, bridges,
overhead structures, electric conductors and the necessity of protecting human life and property should be borne in mind.
When ordering cars for loading concentrated weights of heavy commodities, shippers have the
responsibility of notifying serving carriers of this purpose.
Floors and all supporting details of cars selected for the loading of commodities of heavy concentrated
weight must be of sufficient strength to prevent load breaking through floor while shipments are enroute.
Fixed supports, brackets or other appurtenances on lading, must be of sufficient strength to safely support
unit in transit or body of same must be adequately supported for rail transportation.
All cars All items described under the figures for securing loads must be applied as specified, except when
otherwise indicated under each figure.
Unless otherwise specified in the figures, the securements are shown for loads on fiat cars not exceeding
60 ft. in length. When lading requires fiat cars longer than 50 ft., the shipper and originating carrier are to confer as to
additional securement required.
Loads of dimensions and weight which make it necessary to handle them under restricted speeds must be
reported by the originating carrier to the carriers over whose lines they are to be transported.
Piles or units, loaded on one car may be secured to different specific figures or General Rules and located
not closer than two feet to the adjacent pile or unit.
In preparing these loading rules. no attempt is made for the protection of commodities involved either
from the elements or from other forms of damage such as vandalism. inherent property of the commodity, hidden
defects, design or manufacturing deficiencies, etc. The shippers must ensure that, in the shipment of crated material, the
crates have sufficient strength to accept securement items to the car and to retain internal contents. Contents must be
suitably braced to retain lading and prevent crate failure. If crates are to be stacked, bottom crates must be of sufficient
strength to support the additional weight. Where additional protection from damage is necessary, this then becomes a
matter to be decided between the shipper and receiver of the commodity.
(18) When tarpaulins or other type covers are used to cover or protect the lading during, transit, they must be
adequately secured in such a manner as to prevent them from working loose and thus becoming an operational safety