Railroad Lingo

Grant Barrett gbarrett at AMERICANDIALECT.ORG
Wed Jul 21 12:54:23 UTC 1999

>From the Christian Science Monitor http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1999/07/20/fp22s1-csm.shtml

Railroad lingo

Deadhead A railroad employee traveling on a free pass. This riverboating term (it meant submerged logs floating on end) is an air-travel and trucking term, too. It can mean to travel without cargo or passengers.

Foamers Spectators who gather along the railroad tracks to watch or take pictures of the train.

Frog The X-shaped plate where a train switches tracks. The metal flange guides the wheels from one track to another.

Hog The locomotive.

Piglet An engineer trainee.

Rails Railroad track workers. Crews used to be called 'gandy dancers' when they used shovels made by the Gandy Manufacturing Co. Crews had to work in unison to realign sections of track.

Shoofly Temporary tracks laid around an obstacle blocking a train's usual route -a mudslide, perhaps.

Sun kink A section of rail that has expanded and bent out of alignment because of hot weather.

Weedburner A flame-throwing vehicle that is towed along the rails to eliminate weeds on the tracks.
Grant Barrett

World New York

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