FRA 224 Railcar Reflective Marking Regulations Requirements

FRA 224 Specifications for Rail Cars – (

Note – this is a synopsis of the FRA 224 regulation. For specific requirements on markings for rail cars, the full regulation should be referenced. There is much more information in the full text than is in this article. Full regulation link.

The FRA 224 regulations for rail car (freight car) markings was updated in 2005 and covers all rail cars and locomotives.  The requirements are fairly straight forward.   The purpose of the rule is to require the application and use of retro-reflective tape on the sides of freight rolling stock, (includes both freight cars and locomotives) to enhance the visibility of trains and freight cars during times of limited visibility. It is recommended that the tape bear the FRA 224 mark.  Also, yellow or white can be used.  Yellow seems to be the most common color used.

It is required that the tape be applied to all new freight cars.  For existing cars the tape must be applied after repainting or within 9 months of a single car airbrake test. On railroad freight cars (other than flat cars and tank cars), the reflective sheeting shall be applied in either a vertical or horizontal pattern along the length of the car sides, with the bottom edge of the sheeting as close as is practical to 42″ above the top of a rail. The reflective sheeting shall not be applied below the side sill.

The retro reflective material is to be installed as follows. At least one 4″ x 36″ strip or two 4″ x 18″ strips (one above the other) shall be applied as close to each end of the rail car as practical. In between these two vertical end strips, reflective tape shall be applied a minimum of one 4″ x 18″ strip every 12 feet.

NOTE – tape is required in the above configuration on BOTH sides of the rail cars.

To see pricing and more information on Rail Car tape CLICK HERE.