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...
hogger, hoghead, driver
Ram-rod, conducer, The Brains, skipper
brakie, pinner, pinhead, baby lifter
yard goat, dinger
yard rats, hostler
car knocker, wheel knocker, car toad, car tonk
Fucking dispatcher, dipsnatcher
Gandy Dancer, snipe
peeps (short for "people")
bull, cinder dick, pussyfoot (in plain clothes)
hogs, lokies, power, motors
hack, crummie, brain box
main, iron, high iron, high rail
string of cars
little terrorists, munchkins
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