Rail enthusiast lingo

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Czesziafan

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A little while ago whilst browsing through a report of someone's spotting days I found some of what this individual had written incomprehensible, at least to someone who speaks and writes proper English. In particular the phrase: "it was wedged so we bailed" had me totally lost. Does anyone know what he meant?
 
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eastwestdivide

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Shorthand for
"people were wedged in" i.e. squeezed up against each other = crowded, and
"we bailed out" i.e. abandoned the idea, as in parachuting out (bailing out) of a doomed aircraft.

Perhaps not entirely incomprehensible, at least to this person who speaks and writes "proper English" (whatever that may be). Just jargon in the sense of language only understood by a small subgroup of people.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Many users of the English language like to use idioms / idiomatic expressions, or industry specific jargon.

"Idiom" = a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not easily deducible from those of the individual words.

The result can, however, be quite confusing for those for whom English is a second language!
 

Peter C

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Railway enthusiasts have developed almost an entire language to describe pretty much everything to do with engines and services. Some people use engine/unit nicknames, etc., more than others and it takes quite a while to work out what they're saying I must admit! :)

-Peter
 

Peter C

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That's not railway specific slang at all.
The 'bailed' bit would make sense to most, I'd think - the 'wedged' bit probably would also make sense but 'wedged full' might make it more obvious. I didn't get the first bit when I read it initially.

-Peter
 

DB

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Don't forget loco nicknames - some of which are obvious (e.g. Class 66 is a shed, because head-on it looks a bit like a garden shed), and some of which aren't (Class 47 is spoon, apparently because the horn sounds like it is saying that? Or duff, a reference to their past levels of reliability).
 

Mcr Warrior

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So let’s compile our correspondent a full list....

Sounds like fun...

Start off with a couple...

"Normal" = a non-enthusiast of trains and railways;

"Kettle-basher" = enthusiast who is overly obsessed with steam engines.
 

GRALISTAIR

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I was hoping for a NB Siphon but got a plug duff instead. Translation - I was hoping for a ride behind a Class 37 locomotive without steam or electric heat and instead got an Electric Heat equipped Class 47 locomotive.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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I was a bit disappointed by The Alps at the Watercress Line %).

The Germans have a great word for railway enthusiast: Pufferkuesser, buffer-kisser, I do not mind being called that.
 

xotGD

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My Lords! This thread is dreadful!

I thought that the 'Spoon' nickname for 47s came from the shape of their power handle? I always preferred 'Joseph' as a nickname for them. Now who else knows the origin of that?
 

Merle Haggard

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'Baled out' was also railwaymens' slang - for a driver having left a train before reaching their booked relief point. For instance, when a driver declined to continue because to do so would involve (involuntary) overtime.
 
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StephenHunter

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I was a bit disappointed by The Alps at the Watercress Line %).

The Germans have a great word for railway enthusiast: Pufferkuesser, buffer-kisser, I do not mind being called that.
The 218s are known in a British group I'm in as "Rabbits" on account of their exhausts.
 

LOL The Irony

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Veg - Seriously obsessed die hard fanboys, usually of a specific class.
Fizzy Knitting - The overhead electric line
Cheap As F**k - Derogatory name bestowed upon Spanish train builder Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) due to their reliability and build quality issues, as well as general cheap feel of their products.
 

43096

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Cheap As F**k - Derogatory name bestowed upon Spanish train builder Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) due to their reliability and build quality issues, as well as general cheap feel of their products.
That's not just an enthusiast term; it's widely used across the European rail industry.
 

Bevan Price

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'Wedged' and 'bailed' may not be specifically railway terms, I was not sure what they meant.
In pedantic mode - "Bailed" is a legal term, basically "released" on payment of a fee (or a promise to pay) for release from custody, either by the police, or as instructed by a court.

(Bale out is what you can do from a train; it is also what you do when you remove water from a leaking boat.)
 

Czesziafan

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Veg - Seriously obsessed die hard fanboys, usually of a specific class.
Fizzy Knitting - The overhead electric line
Cheap As F**k - Derogatory name bestowed upon Spanish train builder Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) due to their reliability and build quality issues, as well as general cheap feel of their products.
I know quite a bit of railway slang but "wedged" and "bailed" to me had more of a ring of the urban inner city environment than railways. On the WR they used to call the 117's "boggits" or "bog carts" and the 121's "bubble cars".
 

Cowley

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I had a full compo by myself before getting wedged out by Bert and Ada, then a load of desperate Ped Neds invaded and it was time to bail, I hadn’t been gripped so I did Can to Coventry for an outrageous Shredder home.
And other such strange ramblings...
 

Strathclyder

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Don't forget loco nicknames - some of which are obvious (e.g. Class 66 is a shed, because head-on it looks a bit like a garden shed), and some of which aren't (Class 47 is spoon, apparently because the horn sounds like it is saying that? Or duff, a reference to their past levels of reliability).
Other noted (some obvious and not so obvious) loco nicknames include:

Class 20
  • Choppers (due to them sounding like a helicopter when under power)
  • Whistling Wardrobes (in reference to both the whistling turbo when idling and the engine access hatches on the bodyside making them look like oversized wardrobes when opened up)

Classes 24 thru 27
  • Rats (in reference to them being found virtually everywhere on the network. Usually applied to 24s & 25s)
  • McRats (applied to 26s/27s for similar reasons as the 24s/25s, as the former pair often cropped up on all parts of the Scottish network)
  • Shredders (applied to all four classes, for the highly distinctive sound the Sulzer prime mover made/makes when under power. This one can also be applied to 33s. Curses to @Cowley for beating me to this one lol)

Class 28
  • Metrovicks (shorthand for their manufacturer, Metropolitan-Vickers)
  • Co-Bos (in reference to the unusual bogie arrangement. The Reverend Wilbert Awdry flipped this one around to create Bo-Co as the name for the 28 character in his Railway Series line of children's books)
  • Crossleys (the name of the 28's prime mover manufacturer and the primary source of the type's woes)
  • Loafs (as they bear a uncanny resemblance to a loaf of bread. Personally, I think they have the overall look of a oversized bread-bin, but what do I know? lol)

Class 31
  • Peds (referring to their rather pedestrian performance. Was this nickname applied to the entire class or just the 31/4s?)
  • Gargoyles (in reference to their rather, ahem, distinctive front-end design)
  • Skinheads (usually used in reference to the 31s that lacked the headcode box mounted on the cab roof)

Class 33
  • Cromptons (in reference to the Crompton-Parkinson electrical equipment fitted to these locos)
  • Bagpipes (applies to the 33/1 subclass only. This nickname refers to the air pipes fitted for push-pull workings at each cab end resembling a set of bagpipes hanging from the front)
  • Slim Jims (33/2s only. This refers to the 33s built with a narrower body profile so that they could safely operate on the Hastings Line. The difference between the /2s and the other two subclasses in this regard may not seem like much on paper, but is particularly noticeable in practice)
  • Shredders (see Classes 24-27 sub-entry)
I'll stop there, lest I be here all night lol

(both linked Class 33 images taken by Martin Loader)
 
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306024

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The Germans have a great word for railway enthusiast: Pufferkuesser, buffer-kisser, I do not mind being called that.
The American term is Foamer. Seems a fairly apt description when you witness the behaviour of some over enthusiastic enthuiasts.
 

47296lastduff

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Let's not forget "bowled out"-not getting the hoped for loco on the train, (or missing the train in question).
Locos that failed had "blown up".
Rare locos were "huge".
 

hst43102

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Tractor- Class 37, engine noise
Grid - Class 56, referring to the panels on the front of the BREL-built locos
Zombie - Class 57, referring to their rebuild (I wonder if this one can apply to 69's, too?)
Tug - Class 60
Shed - Class 66 ("Rat" could probably apply here, too!)
Skip- Class 67 (turn it upside down!)
Cat - Class 68, referring to the purring noise of the CATerpillar engine
F***ugly- Class 70, self explanatory!
 
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