Are you interested in seeing a glossary of railroad terminology or slang? In this article there are two glossaries of various railroad terms.
Glossary: Railroad Equipment Terminology
This first glossary of railroad terminology or slang covers the equipment terms.
- All black: Signals an “all clear,” meaning there are no defects that can be seen against the black running gear
- Anti-climber: Positioned at the front and rear of a locomotive to prevent debris from reaching the cab
- Blue flag: This can be a blue flag, sign, or light that indicates the car is being worked on
- Coupler: Also known as the knuckle-coupler, this locks cars and locomotives together
- Engine: The term for any kind of locomotive
- EOT device: End Of Train object that monitors the air brakes. Also known as FRED - Flashing Rear End Devices, it replaced the caboose in the 1980s.
- Flange: The small lip on the inside of rail wheels which guides and keeps the locomotive or car on the track
- Goat: Slang for yard engines
- Piggyback: This refers to the truck trailers that are being transported
- Sperry car: This car, used by Sperry Rail Services, looks for defects in the rail
- Yard goat: A term for a switch engine
- Yaw dampers: This is a spring that reduces the rocking motion of an engine or car
General Railroad Terminology
This next glossary of railroad terminology or slang covers railroading terms in general:
- COFC: Containers On Flatcar, when the train is hauling shipping containers
- Cog railroad: A cog train can travel on steep grades because of a toothed rack rail positioned between the rails of a cog railroad. The cog wheel on the train meshes with the rack rail.
- Conductor: The person responsible for the train, its crew, and cargo
- Crossbuck: The X shaped sign where the tracks cross a road
- Derail: When the train leaves the tracks
- Doubleheading: When there are two locomotives moving a train
- Double-stack: Stacking one container on top of another
- Drag: Slang for slow freight
- Eighth notch: The final notch in the throttle; the most powerful position
- Engineer: Person responsible for operating the engine, also called hog head, hogger, and hostler
- Fusee: A flare
- Highball: A signal to operate a train at full speed.
- Hotshot: A freight train given priority that is almost never held up and is usually given the main line
- In the hole: This is a word for the siding where a train waits for another to pass
- Meet: This occurs when one train passes another and one is in the siding
- On the ground: Term for a derailed train
- Pickup: Adding cars to a train
- Power: Another name for locomotives
- Roadmaster: The person responsible for railroad track maintenance
- Run 8: Running at notch 8 or full power
- Stack train: A slang term for a train that has the containers stacked two deep on each car
- TOFC: Trailer-On-Flatcar which means hauling highway truck trailers
- Varnish: A slang term that refers to passenger cars and equipment which originally referred to the wooden passenger cars that had glossy varnish on them
- Zombie: A slang term for reusing a locomotive's frame and trucks (wheel-axle-frame assembly)
From the start of the railroad in 1815 through deregulation in 1980, the railroad industry continue to gain speed into the 21st century.