Understanding UP local symbols

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New Member
I have found a few different sites on the internet that have a good listing of normal UP train symbols, but those lists fail to explain how the locals are giver a train symbol. Now, I have grown up on a UP main line, and have been railfanning them ever since, but have never asked myself the question what does their symbol mean.

Our UP local here works out of Salem, IL, and goes south through Mt. Vernon, and ends in Marion, before turning and going back north. Their train symbol is LSG-54. It has been for as long as I can remember. Most UP trains use the standard 5 letter, 2 number symbol like ZYCMX-12. I know that means its a high priority intermodel, from Yard Center in Chicago to a Memphis termal having been schedualed to leave on the 12th day of the month.

But that logic doesnt work for LSG-54. What are the train symbols for some of the other locals that work in your area?

I and shooting in the dark when I try to think what the LSG stands for. Local, Salem, General; something???


Ballard Beaver

ballard beaver
the road switchers and locals around seattle-tacoma are called, for example, LIS48 and LIS49. the yard jobs that do not head out over the road are given shorter names, such as S21, S51, etc.

i cant imagine what the I stands for. pretty sure that we are in the portland service unit here.


New Member
Well, we are in teh St. Louis Unit here, so S for St. Louis. L for local. Now just to figure out the G. Ive never heard a date number on the symbol. Its always just LSG-54, nothing else. At least not over the radio. Maybe their paper work says something different and thats just the short version since they work 6 days a week.


Active Member
Most trains don't give their date on the radio, unless there is another train of a different date in the area. Every train as a date as part of the id.

Abilene Ks Railfan

Active Member
Have 2 locals that work the KP line, the LDG86, which works between Salina Ks-Junction City Ks, then the MTPTP, which works Topeka, Ks-Junction City Ks


New Member
Eric found the right info.

BB is also correct with associating I and most of the Portland Service Unit. I think some locals in Idaho use a C.


From a google search:

Not sure how accurate that is, but sounds plausible.

I'm sure the L stands for local. The second letter could well be a service unit designation. If it is, it may just be in A - B - C order rather than the letter being part of a service unit's name. Example, all the Council Bluffs service unit locals I can think of use N for the second letter; LNI, LNM, LNB etc. I think the third letter has to do with the originating yard of the assignment, which would probably coincide with the location of the manager in charge. LNM jobs originate in Marshalltown, IA, LNI originate in Boone, IA, LNB originate in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area.

Yard jobs begin with a Y and the following 2 letters are the terminal designation, then the job number. YCR - Cedar Rapids/Beverly area, YCB -Council Bluffs/Omaha area, YMT - Marshalltown, YBO - Boone, YDM - Des Moines area.

Those jobs using a M symbol with the same originating and terminating point, in my area they are MBOBO and MDMDM aren't really locals in the sense that they don't do industry work. They are more of a transfer between yards. They may pick up or set out blocks between their scheduled end points for locals, but they don't spot or pull customers. At least the ones I'm familiar with don't.


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