Railroad and/or Railfan Slang
On February 4, 2005, Paul S. Highland said:

"Five years ago this month, the subject of railroad slang terms came up on another list and several of us contributed to the discussion. The following is a compendium of terms submitted by myself and a few others. Some may be regional or outdated; some are strictly railfan terms. Feel free to make additions or corrections."

Albino: A Norfolk Southern GE road unit in factory gray primer, earning money for NS prior to acquiring a company paint job
B-boat: A GE four-axle diesel in the Dash-7 or Dash-8 series with a standard cab
Baby boat: A GE U18B diesel
Babyface: Any of several Baldwin diesel cab models with large windshield and small nose
Baby Train Master: A Fairbanks-Morse H-16-66 diesel
Beaver boat: A Canadian Pacific GE widenose diesel with the revived yellow beaver logo
Beep: ATSF 1160, a Baldwin VO1000 diesel rebuilt with a log hood from an EMD GP7
Black Widow: The Southern Pacific paint scheme of black with silver, orange, and red nose stripes
Bloody Nose: The Southern Pacific/ Cotton Belt Paint scheme of gray with red hood ends
Bluebird: A Nickel Plate Alco PA diesel with a modified blue Warbonnet paint scheme
Boom Box: An Amtrak F40PH diesel
C-boat: A GE six-axle diesel in the Dash-7 or Dash-8 series with a standard cab
C-Liner: A Fairbanks-Morse diesel in the "Consolidation Line" series
Cadillac: An EMD SD7 or SD9 diesel
Canary: Any Union Pacific unit running off line in pool service (especially in the South)
Catfish: A Norfolk Southern C40-9W diesel
Centipede: A Baldwin DR12-8-1500 with 24 axles and a "babyface" cab
Chili MAC: An EMD SD90MAC assembled in Mexico
Covered wagon: Any EMD E- or F- unit
Crud: A Southern Pacific SW1500 diesel
or Hack:
A caboose
Daylight: The Southern Pacific paint scheme of orange and red
Death Star: The Illinois Central circular "i" logo
Dog Catch"
or "Patch Crew:"
A crew that is sent out to bring a train in for another crew that has run afoul the 12 hrs rule
Executive: The Burlington Northern Grinstein green & cream paint scheme; used only on SD70MACs
Geep: Any EMD four-axle diesel in the GP series; originally models GP7, GP9, and GP18 only
Ghost: Any KCS diesel still in the white paint scheme
Goatboat: A Great Northern GE U-series diesel with "Rocky the Goat" logo
Hammerhead: An Alco RS-3 or RSD-5 diesel with short hood taller than the long hood
Heffalump: MKT 143, an Alco RS3 diesel rebuilt with a long hood from an EMD GP7
Click Here
Hermaphrodite: (1) An EMD BL2
(2) An Alco RS3 with an EMD GP7 hood; see Heffalump
Hole: A siding; as "into the hole"
Kodachrome: The red, yellow and black paint scheme of the failed merger between Southern Pacific and Santa Fe
Mating Worms: The Penn Central PC logo
Mud missile: A GE Genesis- type diesel
Nanny MAC: An EMD SD90MAC diesel
Oil can: An oil tank car
Pepsi can: An Amtrak P32 Genesis diesel in the as-delivered paint scheme with red and blue stripes
Pooch: An Amtrak GE P30CH diesel
Pumpkin: A BNSF unit in either Heritage or Premium Heritage paint scheme
Red barn: A Canadian Pacific EMD SD40-2F cowl diesel
Red Baron: A Jersey Central diesel in the company's final red paint scheme
or Shark:
A Baldwin RF16 or DR6-4-20 with a narrow tapered nose
Snoot: An EMD SD40-2 or SD40T-2 diesel with a lengthened low short hood
or Goony bird:
A Seaboard System GE BQ23-7 diesel
Stealth: The original CSX paint scheme of pale gray with blue lettering (no yellow)
Swedish meatball,
Pocket Rocket,
or Toaster:
An Amtrak AEM-7 electric
Torpedo boat: An EMD GP diesel with air reservoirs mounted on the roof
Train Master: A Fairbanks-Morse H-24-66 diesel
U-boat: Any GE diesel in the U-series
Uncle Pete: The Union Pacific Railroad
Vacuum Cleaner
or Screamer:
A Pennsylvania E44 electric
Vomit Bonnet: BNSF #9647, with Executive colors (Grinstein green & cream) in a Warbonnet pattern.
Click Here
Warpumpkin: A BNSF unit in Premium Heritage (Heritage II) paint scheme
Wet Noodle: The Canadian National CN logo
Winnebago: A Metra EMD F40PHM diesel
Zeppelin: A Baldwin centercab transfer unit (MN&S, EJ&E, Trona)

Lost Railroad Slang
Herewith I add my own collection, gathered from the misc.transport.rail.americas newsgroup back in 1996.
Going to Beans: Taking a break for a meal or a cup of Joe (aka "java," "mud," "coffee")
"Big-Holing it,"
"Dumping it,"
"Plugging it,"
or "Soaking it":
Making an Emergency application of the train brakes
OS'ing a train: Doing a roll-by inspection

OS'ing a train comes from "on sheet", which is what the operators did in the days of local train order offices. An operator would call the dispatcher to report an OS time of a train which the dispatcher would record on his train sheet. This has died with the closure of train order offices. And the death of train orders for that matter. (drtrack)

The term "OS" still lives on in a way. When ever I pull up my electronic train sheet the words "On Station data" are displayed at the top. The times on this sheet are automaticly "OS'ed" when a train passes through an interlocking. I would tend to think that the person who wrote the trainsheet program for CETC knew what the term "OS" meant and therefor worked it into the "On Station data" line.... (Erich S. Houchens)

I constantly hear the SF delayer tell crews on the El Paso sub to "os" this or that milepost so he can write up warrants for them and other trains. Something like "Santa Fe 3720, give me an os when you get to mp 1123" or "os me when you get to Rincon". (Fred D.)

And OS-ing had as much or more to do with marking the progression of a train from station to station rather than inspecting it (roll-by). (Gerry Burridge)

Company Notch: On a Steam Locomotive, adjusting the Johnson bar to use the least amount of fuel and thereby maximizing efficiency and minimizing expense to the company

Company notch referred to the most efficient setting on a steam loco's reverser. There were positions which produced more power but were much less efficient. Hence the COMPANY notch for the lowest fuel consumption etc. (drtrack)

The efficiency of a steam locomotive is adjusted by the Johnson Bar (reverse lever), not the throttle. An engine running at it's optimal setting is not in "full" forward gear. Good hoggers use both levers (throttle and Johnson) to adjust speed, fuel consumption and steaming quality. (unknown)

Hoghead: The Engineer
EQ: an "Early Quit)
Mark Off: To Call in Sick
Pot Signal: Ground-level interlocking signal
Cabin Car: A caboose
Commission Hour: Rush Hour
Boabob: A high or wide car requiring special handling
Tripper: A local yard shifter (switcher)
Drill: What a Tripper does in the Yard
Foamer: In reference to the railfan, as in foaming at the mouth over a train.
FRN: F#&%@ing Rail Nut
FNG: F#&%@ing New Guy
Trained Vestite
or Vestite:
New hire employee (FNG) required to wear an orange safety vest to identify him as a new hire (and not to be taken seriously).
Techno Toaster: Any GE product of Dash 8 or later descent. (esp. Genesis units)
"We Hit An Elephant:" Perhaps an obscure one... Heard that one on a Conrail freight the other day. Asked a retired NYC engineer and He said that was a term used when a train hit something on the tracks (i.e. auto, person, etc.). Supposedly comes from the PT Barnum era when a steam locomotive hit and killed an elephant, late 1800's ? (Joe Farrell)
Oh and Oh: Stop the movement for an on and/or off (no getting on or off moving equipment, you remember...)
Shake and Bake: Spotting the dock and/or the scale (depends on foreman)
Beastie: A good looking woman
Blleeeecccchhhhh: An ugly woman
"Sardine Can:" When a truck strikes one of several low bridges ( this is almost a daily occurance)
"Delayer:" If you didn't guess, The Dispatcher
"Plugged:" Held at an interlocking
"Darlings:" Vandals
"The Ducks are on the Pond: The vandals are at work
"The Poo-Poo Choo-Choo:" Train that takes garbage from transfer station to yard
"Make a mess:" Derail some cars
"Mega Mess:" Deraling cars which proceed to fall on their sides
"Protecting the crossing at Inman Ave:" Going to nearby bagel shop for breakfast while locomotive sits on the crossing.
Strapping or plugging: Holding up a train for any of various reasons.

A popular instance was many years ago, when an eastbound was sent from Sharon PA to Brier Hill at Youngstown. This went through a single track and a severe grade eastbound. For four evenings in a row, the dispatcher let the train go, forgetting that No. 1 was on time, and usually, along with helpers out of Youngstown to cut the train and get it out of the way, and clearing the track, the dispatcher was demoted, and on the fifth evening, a new dispatcher did the same thing. (Eddie Van Huffel)

Crummy: A caboose

Side note to John Walker; no matter how carefully you do a caboose restoration, it's still a crummy job (David J. Dewey)

Constructed, Maintained, and © by Ron Kohlin of Niceville, Florida, USA
Created February 9, 2005.
Last Updated February 10, 2005.

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