Some unusual Railroad Terms

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by brakie, Feb 13, 2004.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    While working on the PRR/PC and C&O/Chessie I picked these odd terms..These may have been local or widely used.
    1.Mr.Knuckle Buster-A engineer whose train handling is less then desirable.
    2.Expert conductor-A yardmaster that tells the conductor how to switch cars and what cuts to make and where.
    3.To-to-This referred to a locomotive that was TO old-TO worn out.
    4.White shirts-Office worker car clerks etc
    5.Stuffed shirts-Upper management.
    6.Traffic muller-Dispatcher.
    7CTM-Chief Traffic Muller-Chief Dispatcher.
    8.Liers rug.Being called into the division superintendents office to give account of a accident or other rule infraction.
    9.Fixure Fireman.This was a fireman that was a qualified engineer but remained a fireman on the extra board at his own choice.
    10.Rule Bender-A conductor that would bend the rules to get the work done and would make high risk moves.
    On the C&O/Chessie
    1.Litter box-A engine house/service tracks.
    2.Cat's Whiskers-The MU hoses on a Chessie unit.So called because of the cats head on the end of the hood.
    3.Cats meow-The locomotive horns on a Chessie unit.
    4.Feather bedder-Employee that would take a nap while on duty.
    5.Junker-Any GE U boat.
    6.A duct tape queen-A older unit that had a history of breaking down.
    7.Work mules-GP7/9s.
    8.Scenery-A pretty woman in a car waiting for the train to past.The engineer would radio the caboose and tell them to check the scenery.
    9.Railroader wanna be-A railfan.
    10.Preacher-A no nonsense conductor that goes by the rules.
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Those are fun Brakie,
    Ralph (A railroader wannabe who ownes a couple HO junkers and at least one duct tape queen!) :)
  3. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member


    Whilst up in the FROG last night listening to A Prairie Home Companion, they were in Spartanburg, SC last night so wanted to hear what they had to say about the south, i picked up a book i received from a neighbor as a birthday present back in '62. It's from the "American Heritage Junior Library" collection and is titled Railroads in the Days of Steam". It was one of my dream books back when i was a kid.

    Anyway, in the back is a glossary of "Railroad Slang". They say, “Although few of today’s railroad men make use of the words in this list, many were part of the everyday speech of the yard hands, engineers and conductors of an earlier generation. Thought i'd throw a couple out for your amusement, and verification of authenticity.

    Baby-lifter: Passenger brakeman
    Beanery Queen: A waitress.
    Bindle Stiff: Hobo
    Cinder Snapper: Railroad enthusiast who rides open platform on observation car.
    Deadhead: Person riding on a pass.
    Flimsy: Train order.
    Gandy Dancer: Track laborer
    Hogger: Engineer
    Hole: Side track for passing trains.
    Jam Buster: Assistant Yardmaster
    Johnson Bar: Reverse lever on a loco
    Master Maniac: Master Mechanic
    Sidewinder: Shay geared Loco
    Star Gazer: Brakeman who fails to see signals.
    Vanish: Passenger cars

  4. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Brakie, thanks a lot for sharing some of your inside information with us Railroader wannabe's. Now all our LPB's can talk railroad slang just like the real guys!!

  5. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Thank you, Larry and Ted, for these special RR terms.

    I think, that in any country RR lingo is rich of more or less flowery expressions. It wouldn't make big sense if I would post German expressions, but it would be funny to compare between the RR languages of the Americans, the Aussies and the Brits (Disclaimer: this list shows no biased preference - it is strictly in alphabetical order :D :D :D)

    Just one nitpicking point, Ted (that's the teacher in me stirring, hehe): Unfortunately Passenger trains are vanishing :(, but they are/were called Varnish. (See the books of Beebe & Clegg)

  6. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    add to list..

    railfans who are so excited at trains, they foam at the mouth.
  7. Freelancer

    Freelancer Member

    These are nothing special but here are a couple we use on the HVRR.

    Corndoctor- Conductor
    Stud Fireman- Student Fireman
    Red Zone- In between cars/cutting in the air

    There are plenty more, but I don't think that they are appropriate for this form.

  8. boppa

    boppa Member

    shame the thread is titled `Some usual Railroad Terms'
  9. Dave Hagan

    Dave Hagan Member

    I fixed that boppa.
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    oops! :oops: Thanks Dave! :D
  11. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I guess if it's usual or unusual depends on your perspective :D :D :D I still use Naval lingo from time to time and it's been 15 years since I got out. I tossed out an "RHIP" for pete, but he missed it :D Great thread, brakie! Maybe I'll print it out and put it in the box with my unpainted LPB and try to get them to make sense :D :D :D

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