Train Symbols and Routes (TSARs)

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To enable trains to move properly around the network, each one is assigned a symbol which provides yard masters with some information about the train's purpose and route. There are more than 8000 symbols in the database varying from a local inter-yard switching move to a massive cross-country Intermodal move.

TSAR Types

Each TSAR can fall into one of a number of general categories. Some railroads will have different names for some train types but it does not change the underlying purpose of the symbol.


Some railroads will split Intermodal traffic into multiple train types but they are essentially all the same. Any splits may be based on the priority of the train, or even the type of intermodal traffic that it is carrying. In FYM, this does not really have any impact on the handling of the train in most cases.

Intermodal trains will include only intermodal cars (Well, Spine, Intermodal Flat Cars), and Autoracks, and there are special rules that yardmasters should follow when putting these trains together.

The newest, most powerful engines are often reserved for intermodal trains.

See also: Intermodal Operations.

Light engines

There are a handful of TSARs that are for engines which run light from one yard to another. Often this is to enable engines to be serviced at a nearby yard where trains often terminate, but there are no servicing facilities available there. other uses include returning helper locomotives to the originating point where extra power is needed to deal with steep gradients.

Local/Yard Job

Local trains form the start or end of a car's journey from source to destination and often traverse very short distances (sometimes as little as a mile). Local trains originate from classification yards or smaller rail terminals that are served by manifest trains and can be very short in length as they only carry cars for a specific set of yards, and are often hauled by older engines with less power.


Manifest trains carry the majority of standard traffic between classification yards around North America. Any traffic which is not for a local train will generally be dispatched on a Manifest train to another classification yard or interchange with another railroad. Some manifests will work at yards en-route between their source and destination yards while others may run through every yard and run non-stop. Manifest trains are often more than a mile in length.


All Passenger TSARs appear under the "Passenger" section of the TSAR manager with the company that actually operates that symbol listed as the Train Type.

Unit trains

Unit trains can often make up the bulk of the movements for some yardmasters. Unit trains are any train which consist of entirely one car type, and travel between a pair of yards. Sometimes this may be broken down into multiple TSARs, but the train will run as a single unit from source to destination.

Unit trains often carry:

  • Coal
  • Crude Oil
  • Grain
  • Potash
  • Sand
  • Sulfur

Train Information

Every train has a set of information that is available for it. It can be accessed by pressing the "Info" button on the Maps and Trains screen (with a train selected) or by pressing the "space bar" with the train selected on a map.

The train information provides details including the train symbol, the source and destination of the journey as well as the length, weight and power ratio of the train. You can also see the route that the train is following. Note that this is not the route that every car needs to follow to get to its destination, the destination of the train may be an intermediate classification yard or the end of a line, depending on its type. Some notes are also included which may give a quick summary of what the train's purpose is, and where it might work en-route. This information together allows yardmasters to route cars properly.

For a comprehensive look at how BNSF Symbols are made up, visit the BNSF Symbols page.

See also: Car Routing.