Freight Car Brake Pipe Pressures? is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.

Sean R Das

I remember reading in Model Railroader Cyclopedia Volume 1: Steam Locomotives that during the steam era, brake pipe pressures were 70 psi for freight and 90 psi for passenger trains.

However, today, freight train brake pipe pressures have increased to 90 psi. Around what year was this change made? Why?


The Herder Himself
IIRC, BN was still using a 80 PSI BP up untill the mid or even late 80's, but used 90 PSI for mountain grade.


New Member
The higher the brake pipe pressure the more air you have to make multiple applications. This becomes more important while comming down grades. Passenger cars use more air for doors, toilets ect so they can use the extra pressure to run those things as well as air for braking. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)