U.S. flag signifying that this is a United States Federal government website An official website of the United States government


Notice: The STB will perform planned website maintenance Sunday, May 19, 2024, from 7:00 PM EDT to 12:00 AM EDT. As a result, the STB website, including e-filing, filings, decisions, recordations and related advanced search may be intermittently unavailable during the maintenance window.

Carload Waybill Sample

What is the Carload Waybill Sample?

It is a stratified sample of carload waybills for all U.S. rail traffic submitted by those rail carriers terminating 4,500 or more revenue carloads annually.  See 49 C.F.R. §§ 1244.1 to 1244.5.  Waybill data has broad application in, among other things, rate cases, the development of costing systems, productivity studies, exemption decisions, and analyses supporting regulations.  Waybill data are also used by transportation practitioners, consultants, and law firms in preparing verified statements to be submitted in formal proceedings before the Board or other public agencies.  Various federal agencies use the Waybill Sample as part of their information base, and many states use it as a source of information for developing state transportation plans.

Who can get access to information from the confidential Carload Waybill Sample?

Because the Waybill Sample contains sensitive shipping and revenue information, access is restricted.  The rules for release of waybill data are codified at 49 C.F.R. § 1244.9.  The rules identify five classes of users:

  1. Railroads
  2. Federal agencies
  3. States
  4. Transportation practitioners, consulting firms, and law firms in specific proceedings
  5. Other Users

The specific requirements for requesting access vary depending on the type of user.  Any user granted access will be required to execute a confidentiality agreement before receiving data.  See generally 49 C.F.R. § 1244.9(b)-(e).

What are the requirements for an “Other User” to obtain access to the confidential Carload Waybill Sample?

The requestor must submit a detailed written request explaining the purpose for which data are being requested, identifying the specific data requested, and explain why the specific data are needed.  A request shall be filed with the Director of the Office of Economics (Director).  Requests from an “Other User” are published in the Federal Register.  The Director will determine whether to grant access, considering any objections filed.

If access is granted, the access is valid for one year and the requestor must sign a confidentiality agreement that governs the terms of access.  The requestor may seek to use data for a longer period by submitting a written request for an annual extension of the agreement 30 days prior to the expiration date of the agreement.  All waybill data must be either returned to the Board or certified as destroyed upon expiration of the agreement.  The requestor may not keep any copies of the Waybill data.  See generally 49 C.F.R. § 1244.9(c)-(e).

Other User requests and the Director’s decision will be posted to the Board’s website under filings and decisions.  Filings and decisions for Other User requests can be found by using the Board’s Search STB Records function (all Waybill requests have a docket number starting with the “WB” prefix.)  For questions about how to submit a request for confidential Waybill data, contact the Office of Economics at .

What if there is an objection to an “Other User” obtaining Waybill data?

Objections to release of the confidential waybill data must be filed no later than 14 calendar days from publication of the notice in the Federal Register. A copy of each objection shall be filed with the Director, who will consider all objections in determining whether to release the requested waybill data.  A request for access may be denied even if no objections are filed.  See 49 C.F.R. § 1244.9(d)(3)-(4).

What is the appeal process if a request or objection is denied?

Any appeals of the Director’s waybill data access decision must be filed with the Board within 10 days of the date of the Director’s decision.  Responses to appeals must be filed within 10 days thereafter.  The filing of an appeal will automatically stay the effect of the Director’s decision.  See 49 C.F.R. § 1244.9(d)(4)(iii) and § 1011.6(b).

What is the Public Use File?

The Public Use Waybill File is created from the confidential Waybill Sample File. A description of the Public Use Waybill, how it is developed, and the file itself can be downloaded using the links at the bottom of this page.


Please be aware that revenue reported in the freight revenue field may be masked and not equal to the actual revenue on the freight waybill.  See 49 C.F.R. § 1244.3.

Waybill questions should be directed to .

Public Use Waybill Samples

NOTE:  The Office of Economics has determined that the car ownership field in the 2015-2018 Public Use Waybill Samples (PUWS) contains an error.  The car ownership field in the PUWS during 2015-2018 incorrectly used the car owner’s mark instead of the car initial to identify the car ownership.  This issue impacted about 9% of the records for each of the 2015-2018 files.   Revised files that correct the car ownership field and replace the incorrect 2015-2018 PUWS text files are available below.

NOTE:  On September 3, 2020, the Board adopted new Waybill Sample data collection regulations that increase the sampling rates of certain non-intermodal carload shipments and specify separate sampling strata and rates for intermodal shipments.  The Board also eliminated the manual system for reporting waybill data.  The new requirements took effect on January 1, 2021.  For more information, see the decision in Waybill Sample Reporting, Docket No. EP 385 (Sub-No. 8).