North American vs. British RR terms

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Jun 1, 2007.

  1. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    My son is throughly confused with this one...

    buffer vs bumper

    ...I think Thomas the Tank is responsible for messing him up on that one.
  2. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, I'll check that site out. At least my (British) in-laws didn't understand our train signals and one of them is a huge train buff.
  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Yes, "buffers" are the two disk-like objects at the front and ends of locos, rolling stock and at the ends of sidings.

    Sometimes I see British locos listed on eBay, by Canadian sellers, describing the condition of the "bumpers" -- that makes me wince! ;-)

    You can learn a lot by watching Thomas!

  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    bumper = buffer stop.

    I have a friend who prides himself on being bilingual on railway matters. he was helping at a British sales table at a show and someone asked if they had "trucks". He translated this to "bogies" and produced some; turned out the fellow wanted "lorries" (highway trucks).
    I work on a glossary of terms every so often; it's a major task.

    try also:
    Vacuum pipe(Br) = brake pipe = air bag.
    Fully fitted (Br) = brakes on all cars controlled from the locomotive = normal (NA)
    loose coupled (Br) = not continuous brakes and wagons joined with chains = not over here (NA)
  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, David -- more good terms.

    I just thought of another one -- is "level crossing" British or is it used over here? I have heard it used, but usually by Brits. Is there a N. American equivalent?

  6. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    As the well known quote goes: "America and Britain are two nations sperated by a common language". :rolleyes:
  7. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    "Grade crossing".
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks! That one really had me stumped! Rob
  9. kirkendale

    kirkendale Member

    Ahhhh Canada, where we spend half our time telling the Americans we are not British and the other half of the time telling the British that we are not American so that we have no time to be ourselves.

    Robert, great topic, its nice to see the comparisons. I had never heard a caboose called a van until I started to model. Level crossing and grade crossing seem to be interchangeable.
  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, kirkendale. Good points. Yes, there are certainly lots of British and American words and traditions in our culture, as well as French and many others! Rob
  11. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Here's something to confuse you more:

    In South Africa we call turnout/points "sets".

    We mix EVERYTHING up- Example of a few: flatcar, carriage, caboose, wagon, freight train, goods train. Whatever your in the mood of saying.

    When you're around American tourists you use their terminology and around British tourists their's.

    AND then a third version in another language- Afrikaans (Comes from Dutch so it sounds similar).

    It gets interesting!!
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks! I can relate. In Canada -- in general -- much of our words, spelling, traditions, etc. are a funny mixture of American-isms and British-isms as well. And this goes far beyond just railway terms. Then, we have our own particular words and traditions.

    For example, I still don't get how Britain and America can survive without donut shops!

  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    and then there are the times where they use the same word for quite different things, like "beer".
  14. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, David! You're right, in NA "beer" = "lager".
    In Britain, "beer" = "ale"! (Lager is a specific drink.)

    Getting back to railways, has this one been mentioned?
    "Goods train" = Br
    "Freight train" = NA

  15. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Yip, in my previous post
  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Engine terminal (NA) = Motive power depot (Br)
  17. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    2% grade (NA) = 1 in 50 gradient (Br)
    Dispatcher (NA) = Controller (Br) ?
  18. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    Station Master (Br) = Platform Manager (Used to be station master) (S. Africa) = ????? (NA)
  19. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    These are all good ones -- some I knew about but others are quite new! I'm finding that I'm more familiar with the British ones, i.e. platform manager, 1 in 50 gradient, signal box, etc.
  20. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    RobertInOntario- I know why you know more about the Brit. stuff- it has something to do with your Avatar, you must have some English stuff.

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