Photo by Wayne Owen

Direct Rail Freight Services

The Buckingham Branch offers world-class freight service to customers as part of our 7-day-a-week operations. As a short line railroad the BB can give individual attention to our freight customers in terms of modifying schedules if needed to accommodate changes in production schedules. The BB has 40+ freight customers across our four rail divisions, ranging from international corporations like Klockner Pentaplast to local customers like Luck Stone quarries. The Buckingham Branch moves a wide variety of freight, from heavy industrial materials like stone and lumber, to chemicals required for fertilizer production, to gases such as butane, to finished food and beverage products like beer and wine. Our freight trains run regular schedules Monday through Friday and special trains as needed on weekends. We have eight train crews. Some of our freight customers include WestRock, Augusta Cooperative, Bakery Feed, Bear Island Paper, Buckingham Slate, Builders Specialty, Dominion Power, Argos, Koppers, Klockner Pentaplast, Luck Stone, Martin Marietta, Stella Jones, Sunoco, and Mid-Atlantic Transload.

Class 1 Freight Railroad Connections

The Buckingham Branch can offer our customers quality freight service with connections to anywhere in North America. With four connections each to CSXT and Norfolk Southern, the BB can help our customers find the best freight schedules and freight rates within the industry. The BB works closely with our Class 1 Railroad partners and can help you evaluate the best option for your freight service. See more information about our freight service in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of the "About Us" page of the website. Also see more information about our Class 1 Railroad Connections by visiting the link to "8 Class 1 Railroad Connections" on the Home Page.

Types of Freight and Railcars

The Buckingham Branch can move most any type of freight into or out of your industrial facility. The types of freight that move by rail include agricultural commodities, cement, chemicals, coal, food products, lumber, petroleum products, sand and gravel, wood products, and others. Among the types of railcars that are available are boxcars, flat cars,centerbeam flatcars, bulkhead flatcars, gondolas, coil gondolas, covered hoppers, open-top hoppers, and tank cars. See the brief descriptions and photos of different types of rail freight cars below.

Advantages of Buckingham Branch Freight Service

Class 1 Railroads like CSXT, Norfolk Southern, BNSF and Union Pacific each have thousands of customers and move freight across thousands of miles of track. Their objective is to coordinate long moves of freight cars in trains as efficiently as possible. The Buckingham Branch Railroad, on the other hand, succeeds by providing world-class service to our 40+ customers. Our priority is moving your freight cars, whether that be, 1 car at a time or 100 at a time. We can modify our freight service as needed to accommodate changes in your production or distribution schedule. We provide service 5 days a week, but we can also add weekend service when it is important to you.

Getting Started with Buckingham Branch Freight Service

We make it as easy as possible for you to understand how rail freight service works best for your company if you are searching for a new or expanded industrial facility, and how to get started. We are happy to answer your questions, get pricing, and coordinate all your needs with our Class 1 Railroad freight partners. Please visit our 'Site Location" page on this website to learn more about the sites and buildings that are available on the Buckingham Branch RR and about our transload freight service as well that offers freight service across much of Virginia.

Boxcar Boxcar


Boxcars come in various sizes and have been a staple of the railroad industry for more than 100 years. Boxcars carry a wide range of products including bagged or palletized material, food products, newsprint, metals, and rolled paper. The standard 50' boxcar can carry from 70 to 100 tons of freight. Boxcars also come in 60' length and some are hi-roof cars. Hi-roof boxcars typically have cushioned underframes. Hi-roof boxcars are typically used to carry appliances, rolled paper and auto parts.

General Purpose Flatcar General Purpose Flatcar

General Purpose Flatcar

Flatcars are open frame cars that offer more flexibility than any other freight car. They also come in special designs that include multiple-axle, platforms and tie-downs. They come in several lengths and are often used for large freight such as steel pipe, transformers, and heavy equipment.

Bulkhead Flatcar Bulkhead Flatcar

Bulkhead Flatcar

Bulkhead Flatcars are similar to General Purpose Flatcars with the addition of heavily braced walls at either end to help secure shipments of certain types of freight and to allow for more freight per car. Bulkhead Flatcars are used to transport logs, building materials, pipe, structural steel and other freight.

Centerbeam Flatcar Centerbeam Flatcar

Centerbeam Flatcar

The Centerbeam Flatcar has a center spine the length of the car that works well for loading and unloading lumber and other types of building supplies. Cars can be loaded and unloaded from both sides. A standard Centerbeam Flatcar is 73' in length and can carry 195,000 lbs or more. Centerbeams also come in 61' lengths.

Covered Hopper Covered Hopper

Covered Hopper

Covered Hopper Cars are used for commodities that must be protected from the weather, often powdered freight. The cars have hatches on the top to allow the material to be loaded into two, three, or four compartments. The compartments ensure that the material is dispersed throughout the Covered Hopper and the unloading is easier from the bottom of each compartment. Some cars require special linings to control contamination. Covered Hoppers come in two sizes - less than 3,500 cubic foot capacity (small) and more than 3,500 cubic feet (jumbo). Covered Hopper Cars can carry between 70 and 110 tons of material.

Open-top Hopper Open-top Hopper

Open-top Hopper

Open-top Hopper Cars are used to transport commodities that are not weather-sensitive. Commodities transported in Open-top Hopper Cars include coal, sand, aggregates, mineral ores, and scrap metal. Weight capacities are up to 110 tons per car. Some Open-top Hopper Cars come with rotary couplers that allow the cars to be turned over for easy unloading.

Plain Gondola Plain Gondola

Plain Gondola

Plain Gondolas come in varying lengths up to 65'. The side height of the cars ranges from 4' to 8'. The length and wall height will determine the cubic feet carrying capacity. Plain Gondolas are open and carry commodities that are not weather-sensitive. They are used to carry railroad ties, sand, gravel, mineral ores, aggregates, and metal, among other commodities.

Coil Gondola Coil Gondola

Coil Gondola

Coil Gondola Cars are used to transport coils of sheet steel. The cars are covered to protect the coils from weather. Coils include stainless steel that is used for appliance finishes. A 100-ton coil car can carry varying size coils in the same car from 30 " to 84". Car covers are removed for loading and unloading.

Tank Car

Tank Car

Tank Cars are used to transport liquids. They come in different sizes and shapes. Commodities transported in tank cars include petroleum products, chemicals, corn syrup, orange juice, milk and others. Depending upon the type of commodity transported, tank cars are specially equipped with linings, loading and unloading fittings, and safety features.

Refrigerated Boxcar Refrigerated Boxcar

Refrigerated Boxcar

Refrigerated Boxcars are temperature-controlled and are used to carry many types of perishable commodities, including frozen food, fresh vegetables and fruits. Known in the rail industry as "Reefers", Refrigerated Boxcars are different from Insulated Boxcars or Ventilated Boxcars that are used for carrying fresh fruit. They can be ice-cooled, mechanically-cooled, or cooled with a carbon dioxide refrigeration system.

Auto Rack Car Auto Rack Car

Auto Rack Car

Auto Rack Cars are used to transport autos, pick-up trucks, and minivans. They can have two or three levels of racking and can be open or covered cars. Auto Rack Cars can typically carry 10 to 15 vehicles. The cars are typically 89' in length and 8-9' wide. Larger vehicles move on Flatcars.