Average Annual Daily Traffic (AADT): The
average number of vehicles passing a given point on a
roadway during a given 24-hour period.
Abandonment: Elimination of a segment of
track from a rail network.
Amtrak: Informal name for the National
Railroad Passenger Corporation created by the federal
government to operate the nation's intercity passenger rail
Ballast: Selected material placed on the
railroad roadbed for the purpose of holding the track in
Branch Line: The track route of a
railroad which extends from the principal lines of rail
traffic to connect external shipping points.
Car Miles: The measurement of the
movement of a rail car one mile.
A properly written and
submitted demand, supported by evidence, to
show that the claimant has sustained a loss
through the negligence. The most common
kinds of Claims :
- Damage Claims due to
physical damage or to a delivery time
- Loss Claims due to
failure to deliver.
- Overcharge Claims
when greater than the legally published
charges are collected.
- Reparation Claims for a
refund of charges paid which, while in
accordance with legal and published
tariffs, are unreasonable or unjust and a
lower, reasonable rate has been published.
Class of Track: The relative general
condition of a section of track measured in terms of the
maximum speed at which trains may be operated safely over
that section of track, as follows:
Maximum Allowable Operating Speed
(passenger service only)
Class of Railroads: The US Federal
Surface Transportation Board (STB) classification of
railroads based on level of annual operating revenue. The
1998 figure based classifications follow:
Class of Railroad
Annual Operating Revenues
| Class I
|| $20.8 Million
Clearance: The maximum limiting dimensions of a
rail shipment that would allow or prevent the clearing of
tunnels and bridges and other rail system structures.
Commuter Rail: Short-haul rail passenger
service operating in metropolitan and suburban areas on
track that is most often a part of the general railroad
Consignee: The individual or entity to which freight
is addressed or shipped. Freight is shipped by a consignor to
Consignor: The individual or entity shipping
outbound freight to a consignee. Freight is shipped by a
consignor to a consignee.
Continuous Welded Rail (CWR): Sometimes referred
to as Ribbon Rail, is a form of track where the rails are
welded together, end to end, to form one continuous rail
that may be several miles in length. Because there are fewer
rail joints, this form of track is stronger ,smoother,
quieter, and needs less maintenance. Welded track has become
common on main lines since the 1950s.
Crane: A large machine that straddles the railroad
track for the purpose of loading and unloading rail cars.
Crossing: A length of Railroad track that
carries one track across another.
Crossover: A connecting intersection of railroad
tracks between two adjacent railroad tracks.
Dedicated Train: In Maintenance of Way, a train that
transports a MOW Cars, supplies and /or crews.
Density: The measurement reflecting the
amount of freight traffic moving over a segment of rail line
which is measured in million gross ton-miles per mile.
Derailment: A condition by-where one or
more cars or locomotives leave the railroad track.
Doodlebug: A self-propelled self-contained special
task railcar, often used for precision testing.
Double Track: Two main railroad tracks, on one of
which the current of traffic runs in a specified direction,
and on the other the traffic is restricted to the opposite
Dunnage: Material used to protect or support MOW
materials and supplies during transport.
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA): A
division of the US Department of Transportation responsible
for administering all Federal programs related to rail
FRED - Flashing Rear
End Device: The
device affixed to an operational train to be used as an
end-of-train warning and to transmit train telemetry
information to the engineer at the front of the train.
Gauge: The distance between outside
rails measured at right angles. In the US, the standard gauge is 4 feet, 8-½ inches
(1,435 mm) as are over sixty percent of the world's
railways. Please review our following chart for examples of
common gauges used around the world.
| Broad gauge (Spain)
|| 5' 5-9/10th"
| Broad gauge (Portugal)
|| 5' 5-11/20th"
| Broad gauge (Ireland)
|| 5' 3"
| Broad gauge (Finland)
|| 5' exactly
| Broad gauge (former USSR)
| Standard gauge
|| 4' 8-1/2"
| Narrow gauge (Cape gauge)
|| 3' 6"
| Narrow gauge (Meter gauge)
|| 3' 3-37/100"
| Narrow gauge (US narrow)
|| 3' 0"
Geographic Information System (GIS): The
computer-based system for mapping and analyzing data and
Gross Ton Miles: The movement of one ton
of freight a distance of one mile, including train weight of goods, cars
Hazardous Material (HazMat): A substance or
combination of substances in close proximity, which, because
of quantity, concentration, physical or chemical
characteristics, or combination in proximity, may cause or may
pose a substantial hazard to health of living things or to the
environment, if improperly transported, packaged or stored.
HY-Rail®: These guide-wheel attachments adapt
highway trucks and other vehicles for railway use and other
applications requiring movement off-rail and also, without
major re-fitting, on-rails. Road/rail units are produced in
various sizes and load capacities. Hy-Rail® equipped
vehicles may be so equipped for track inspection, crew
transportation, materials movement, and specialized
Maintenance of Way related jobs. The term Hy-Rail® should
not be confused with HiRail® or Hi-Rail®, which are trade
names of a company and its products, primarily 100 percent
rubber or asphalt, vehicle and pedestrian grade crossings.
In the Hole: When, at the meeting point of
opposing-direction trains, one train 'holds the main,' (track)
and the other train 'takes the hole' by going onto a rail
Intermodal: A type of international
freight system forwarding and transport that permits
trans-shipping among sea, highway, rail, and air modes of
transportation through use of American National Standards
Institute and International Organization for Standardization
containers, line-haul assets, and handling equipment, using
two or more modes to complete the movement, in either
passenger or freight.
ISO 9001:2000: This is one of the related ISO
(International Organization for Standardization) terms of
standards, increasingly seen in rail Maintenance of Way
literature, referring to a set of quality and management
standards to which railroads and railroad Maintenance of Way
equipment and service providers adhere. These are
process standards, not product standards. ISO's purpose is
to define a single set of standards, world-wide,
universally recognized and respected. The ISO 9000 2000
standards apply to all types of organizations.
Certifications are issued to compliant firms and
Ladder Track: A series of turnouts providing access
to any or all of several parallel yard tracks.
Light Rail: Most often an urban rail
transportation system that uses electric-powered rail cars
along exclusive rights-of-way at ground level, on aerial
structures, in subways, or occasionally on streets.
Linehaul Railroad: A railroad
which is principally involved in the movement of freight from one
town or city to another, or from one facility to another.
Main Line: A designation by each
railroad of its own track system, signifying a line over
which through-trains pass with relatively high frequency.
Main lines generally have heavier weight rail, more
sophisticated signaling systems, and a higher level of
maintenance than branch lines. The US Department of
Transportation definition is based on gross ton miles per
mile passing over a given segment of track. Main lines carry
more than 5 million gross ton miles per mile annually.
Maintenance of Way: The process of maintaining
railroad roadbed (rail, ties, ballast, bridges, etc.)
Materials and supplies for Maintenance of Way are moved in
and by specially designed and manufactured Maintenance of
Way railcars, etc., which includes railcars that are
equipped with heavy equipment, such as cranes and automated
Merger: The combination/absorption of two or more
railroads through the acquisition or combining of assets,
by-where there remains a surviving entity. Examples are:
Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and Burlington formed
Burlington Northern and Seaboard Air Line merged Atlantic
Coast Line and simultaneously adopted the new name, Seaboard
Net Ton-mile: The movement of one ton of
freight, one mile.
Paired Track: When two railroads own single track
lines, they may reach an agreement whereby track belonging to
one railroad services both tracks in one direction and the
other railroad services both lines of track in the other
Per Diem: An amount based on a fixed rate per day
which is used in calculating time and money.
Performance Measure: A quantitative or
qualitative measurement tool to assess progress towards a
pre-defined outcome or goal.
Plate: see Tie Plate.
Rail / Highway Crossing: A location either
at-grade or grade-separated, where one or more railroad
tracks intersect a highway, street or other non-rail
Rail Weight: The weight of a standard
length of common rail, measured
in pounds linear per yard. Most commonly, rails are
fabricated at 112 to 145 pounds per yard, depending on
specification and alloy, however, there is railroad track
manufactured weighing as little as 90 pounds per yard..
Railroad Cost Recovery Index (RCR): A
measure of railroad inflation indicating the change in the
price levels of inputs to railroad operations including
wages, fuel, materials and supplies, and other expenses.
Railroad Track: (see Track) Some of the components making up
Railroad Track systems include, Elastic Rail Clips (ERC),
Rail Anchor, Dog Spike, Lock Spike, Screw Spike, Double
Shank Spike, Single Shank Spike, Bolt & Nut, Washer, Fish
Plate, Base Plates, Sleepers, Inserts, Rubber Pads, Plastic
Pad, Dowels/Ferule, GFN Liner, Plastic Liners and other
Rubber, Plastic and Metallic Fasteners.
Recrew: A crew used to man a train or do maintenance
when the original crew has insufficient time to complete the
designated trip on set of tasks, making a second crew
Regional Railroad or Carrier: A railroad
company earning less than $259.4 million annually and
operating more than 100 miles of track. (see Class of
Ruling Grade: The particular point on a run of
railroad at which the combination of grade and curve
resistance makes the train pull the hardest and therefore this
'point'number, "rules" how heavy a load can be given to the
Shoe Fly Track: A temporary section of railroad
track, built around a train wreck or washout, and/or to
facilitate longer-term maintenance.
Short-line Railroad: A railroad/company
which is typically less than 100 miles in length.
Siding / Side Track: A track auxiliary to the main
track for meeting or passing trains and/or to facilitate the
safe and convenient maintenance of the main line. Also used
to hold and stage trains.
Sleeper: Another term for cross ties, which are
embedded in Ballast to form the railroad track bed.
Sleeperless Track: In recent years,
methods have been developed to put tracks on
concrete without using conventional sleepers
or track ballast. This system, though
costly, seems to have lower maintenance cost
than conventional tracks. It is mainly used
on high-speed lines and in tunnels, where
maintenance access is difficult and where
the track is subject to less stress, such as
rain and temperature fluctuation.
Spur Track: A short track extending from
or along side another (main) track that is connected at only
one end with that main track.
Surface Transportation Board (STB): The
Federal body charged with enforcing acts of Congress
affecting interstate rail traffic.
Strategic Rail Corridor Network (STRACNET):
A Federally defined, interconnected network of rail
corridors important to National defense.
Stub Track: A run of railroad siding track connected
to a operational track at one end and protected at the other
end by a bumping post or other train-stopping obstruction.
Switching Railroad: A railroad involved
in the moving of rail cars between two points, both of which
are within the same vicinity, group of industries, station
Tangent Track: Straight railroad track.
Tariff: The legal listing of rates used when moving
regulated traffic by rail.
Team Track: A siding section of railroad track on
which rail cars are placed for the use, most often by the
public, for loading and/or unloading freight to and from rail
Through Traffic: Railroad traffic which
originates and terminates on railroad owned by other
railroad companies, off-line, or outside of a source state.
Tie Plate: A steel plate, flat on the bottom, placed
between flanged rail and the rail ties. The tie plate
increases the bearing area, thereby distributing the weight of
the passing train across a wider area of the crosstie, holding
the rail to the correct gauge. They are fastened to wooden
ties by means of spikes or bolts through holes in the plate,
and concrete ties by bolts.
Tie Plate Inserter: A machine that slides the plate
under the rail in the railroad tie replacement process.
Ties (Crossties): Wood, concrete or steel cross
members keeping the two rails in gauge, maintaining correct
separation of the parallel tracks.
Track: (Railroad Track) is used on railways to bear
the weight of and to guide trains as the move along the rail
system, without the need for steering. Railroad tracks
consists of two parallel steel rails, laid on ties (sleepers)
that are set on and embedded into ballast. Rails vary in
length, weight, alloy and profile in different countries
around the world. As a rule of thumb, standard rails come in
39' and 33' lengths, however, 30' lengths are common.
Track is classified and graded by standard length
weight (lbs. / ft.) Heavier rail can safely support
greater loads and higher train speeds compared to
lighter railroad rails. Commonly, heaviest rail is 155
pounds per yard. In North America and some other
countries, rail is graded in pounds per yard (3 ft.)
Normal rail weighs from 115 lbs. to 142 lbs.
Transload: The physical transfer of a commodity from
one transportation vehicle to another.
Turnout: A track structure diverting
cars and locomotives from one track to another.
Value Added: A process which transforms
a product or service, effecting increased worth.
Warning Devices: Signs, signals,
markings, and devices placed along approaches to track and
at railroad/highway crossings, on, over or adjacent to
streets or highways, to direct and assist vehicle operators
and pedestrians in crossing the rail line, or avoiding the
rail line, safely.
Weight Limit: The maximum gross weight
per four-axle rail car, including the equipment and goods
that can be handled over rail lines.
What is the meaning of a train whistle or train horn?
In the following chart, * means a
short blast of the whistle or horn and - means
one long blast of the whistle or horn:
|| Apply brakes, stop
|| the Answer to any signal not otherwise
|* * *
|| When standing, back
|* * * *
|| Call for signals
|| Test train brakes
|| Release train brakes
|- - -
|| When running, stop at next passenger
|- - -
|| When standing, train parted
|- - - -
|| Recall flagman from south or west
|- - - - -
|| Recall flagman from north or east
|- * * *
|| Flagman protect the rear of train
|* * * -
|| Flagman protect the front of train
|- - *
|| Approaching meeting or waiting points
|- - * -
|| Approaching a roadway crossing at grade
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