Monday, November 06, 2006

Some slang

Since venturing off into my new career, From soldier to cop to court security, to volunteer firefighter and babysitter to vast piles of West Virginia bituminous... Now onto my dream career as railroader full time... I've led a very checkered past and path to where I am now. While every job I've had has had some colorful slang, the railroad is no different. Since I'll be writing a lot about my trials, tribulations and (mis)adventures riding the "High Iron" I thought I'd give you all, my loyal and dear readers a glossary of sorts of my new profession's own terms for things...

Engineer
hogger, hoghead, driver

Engineer trainee
piglet

Conductor
Ram-rod, conducer, The Brains, skipper

Fireman
Bakehead

Brakeman
brakie, pinner, pinhead, baby lifter

Yard Master
yard goat, dinger

Yard crew
yard rats, hostler

Car inspector
car knocker, wheel knocker, car toad, car tonk

Dispatcher
Fucking dispatcher, dipsnatcher

Track worker
Gandy Dancer, snipe

Passengers
peeps (short for "people")

Switchman
iron bender

Railroad detective
bull, cinder dick, pussyfoot (in plain clothes)

Locomotives
hogs, lokies, power, motors

Caboose
hack, crummie, brain box

Switcher engine
goat

Mainline
main, iron, high iron, high rail

Switch
turnout

Cut
string of cars

Train order
flimsy

Vandals
little terrorists, munchkins

Semi-trailer
pig
Had enough? Didn't think so...

"On the high iron, let the big dogs walk" means the caboose is over the switch and on the mainline so open the throttle all the way on the locomotives

"All black, well stacked, goin' down the track clickity clack" means the train looked good on the visual roll-by inspection.

"Pull the pin" or "let's pull the pin and roll" means "uncouple so we can get out of here"

"Highball it out of here." Proceed at maximum permissible speed

"Double the hill" means the train is split in half to get up a grade

"We are on the ground!" means the train has derailed

"Mosey Speed" means when you approach the limit of your track warrant and have not received a new warrant, you mosey up to the limit prepared to stop.

"Grip" Trainman's suitcase

"Dead Head" A railroad employee traveling as a passenger

"Drag" Describes the movement of a heavy train, such as a coal drag

"Dump the air" Emergency application of the air brakes causing a train to stop abruptly

"Dog chasing" A crew change out.
And my personal favorite:
"Train 405, permission to enter the yard limits and place our engine into the roundhouse and deliver our load..."
"...Train 405, you have permission to enter the yard limits unrestricted, the switches are lined for your movement of your engine and load, you have permission to place your engine into the roundhouse."
Tomorrow... What's in Ranger Tom's "Grip"...
Copyright 2006 Thomas J Wolfenden

8 comments:

mist1 said...

Adding your job to my (growing) list of Careers I Would Really Suck At.

I can't keep up with the lingo.

AlaskaJen said...

The switch is always aligned for forward movement... ;o)

Lisa said...

"Piglet." Hee hee. I love the lingo.

My son has a book about trains. It talks about the different cars and "coupling" and so forth. But it doesn't mention these terms you've talked about. I wonder why? (heehee.)

Leazwell said...

Reading Sports Ill. in the dr's office today I came across an article about the slang in sports. Apparently someone is publishing a dictionary.

Courtney said...

Very inventive of you :)
Skipper. I'd love to have that title...

Fathairybastard said...

Damn, did they make you take a class in that shit? Love it.

Kat_womanx2 said...

I kinda like our pet names for dispatchers in EMS....we refer to them as either "dick scratchers" or my personal favorite...."crayon eaters"...however when I was in the profession myself..I was a proud member of the "sharpie sniffers"....LOL have a good one

ECBlade said...

Brilliant stuff :) I'm curious though...I watched a documentary about trains and understood that "back in the day" when tracks were a bit less stable, that occasionally a tie would snap, thrust upwards and pierce the flooring of the train car, and that was called "a snakehead".

Is there such a term? Is it still in use?