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H

H2O A water train.
Hack A caboose.
Half Period of two weeks.
Halt [Usually UK] Stopping place, without normal station facilities, for local train services.
Ham Poor telegrapher or student.
Hand Bomber or Hand Grenade Engine without automatic stoker, which is hand-fired.
Hand-On Train order or company mail caught with the hoop or without stopping.
Hanging Up The Clock Boomer term that meant hocking your railroad watch.
Hardshell A scenery base made by dipping paper towels in plaster or using plaster-impregnated gauze and laying it over a light support structure like cardboard.
Harness Passenger trainman's uniform.
Hash House Railroad restaurant or lunch stand.
Hat Ineffectual railroad man. (All he uses his head for is a hat rack).
Hay Sleep on the job or any kind of sleep. Caboose was sometimes called hay wagon
Hay Burner 1) Hand oil lantern, inspection torch. 2) A horse used in railroad or streetcar service.
Head End Cars Any freight car which is coupled to the front of a passenger train.
Head End Power (HEP)  Power for heating passenger cars, usually located in a car behind the locomotive known as a HEP Car; sometimes HEP comes from a generator aboard the locomotive.
Head End Revenue Money which railroads receive for hauling mail, express, baggage, newspapers, and milk in cans, usually transported in cars nearest the locomotive, these commodities or shipments being known as head-end traffic.
Head In Take a sidetrack when meeting an opposing train.
Head Man Front brakeman on a freight train who rides the engine cab. Also called head pin.
Headshunt [UK] A headshunt, or shunting neck, is a track running parallel with the main line, facing the yards. It is arranged so that shunting can take place without interfering with the main line. In the US, this is known as a yard lead or switching lead.
Headway The time interval between trains running in the same line.
Hearse Caboose.
Heel Cars on end of tracks with brakes applied.
Heisler A type of geared steam locomotive used by logging railroads. The Heisler had two cylinders connected to a driveshaft which in turn was connected to the trucks.
Helix A spiral track, like a corkscrew, for changing elevations on a model railroad.
Helper A locomotive added to a train to help in climbing steep grades.
HEP See Head End Power.
Herald Trademark or logo of a railroad.
Herder Man who couples engines and takes them off upon arrival and departure of trains.
Hi-cube A modern box car that is taller than standard height, and therefore has more cubic capacity.
High Iron Main line or high-speed track (which is laid with heavier rail than that used on unimportant branches or spurs).
High Liner Main-line fast passenger train.
Highball Signal given by conductor to the engineer when the train is ready to proceed to the next designated stop. Signal is made by waving hand or lamp in a high, wide semicircle.  Verb highball or phrase 'ball the jack means to make a fast run. Word highball originated from old-time ball signal on post, raised aloft by pulley when track was clear.
Highball Artist A locomotive engineer known for fast running.
High-Daddy Flying switch.
High Rail / Hi-Rail A motor car with small rail wheels used to carry maintenance workers.
Highway Crossing See Grade Crossing.
High-Wheeler Passenger engine (steam) or fast passenger train. Also highball artist.
Hiker A lineman who "hikes sticks" instead of prosaically climbing poles.
Hit 'Er Work an engine harder. (Probably a variation of "hit the ball," which means "Get busy-no more fooling!").
Hit The Grit or Gravel Fall off a car or locomotive or get kicked off.
Hobo Tramp. Term is said to have originated on Burlington Route as a corruption of "Hello, boy!" which construction workers used in greeting one another.
Hobo or Bo An individual who rides freight trains to get from town to town. Not to be confused with a bum, a hobo is a transient worker.
Hog Slang term for a locomotive.
Hog Law Refers to ICC service regulation which limits continuous duty to 12 hours. A crew "goes dead" after 12 hours and must be relieved by a "dog catcher" crew.
Hogger Slang term for an engineer.
Holding Her Against The Brass Running electric car at full speed.
Holding Lights Amber or green light signal displayed at certain station platforms at or near the conductor's position, to regulate train spacing.
Hole Side track on a single track line which permits another train to pass.
Holy Roller A graffiti slang term for a car transport car. Liked for their great length. Perfect for doing end-to-end and other large "productions" with spray paint.
Homasote A pressed paperboard often used for roadbed.
Home Cars Freight cars owned by the railroad.
Home Guard Employee who stays with one railroad, as contrasted with boomer. A homesteader is a boomer who gets married and settles down.
Home Signal A fixed signal governing the entrance to an interlocking or controlled point.
Hood Unit A road-switcher.
Hook Wrecking crane or auxiliary.
Hook 'Er Up And Pull Her Tail To set the reverse lever up on the quadrant and pull the throttle well out for high speed.
Hoop A crane loop used to pass orders up to a moving train; the fireman puts his arm through the large hoop.
Hopper Car An open-top car for hauling items that don't need protection from the weather like coal and gravel. Empties through doors in funnel-like bins in bottom of car. Covered hoppers have roofs; They carry grain and other items that need protection from weather.
Hoptoad Derail.
Horse 'Er Over Reverse the engine. This is done by compressed air on modern locomotives, but in early days, manually operated reversing equipment required considerable jockeying to reverse an engine while in motion.
Horsebox Car for the conveyance of horses.
Horsepower The measuring unit of power. The power necessary to continuously raise 550 pounds one foot in one second.
Horsepower per Trailing Ton The total horsepower of all working locomotives divided by the total trailing weight of the train in tons.
Hose Coupler Brakeman who handles trains by himself with the road engine around a big passenger terminal.
Hostler A person who operates engines in engine house territory and works under the direction of the engine house foreman (inside hostler). Some railroads created outside hostlers after a limited exam, who could deliver engines anywhere in the terminal.
Hostler's Controls A simple throttle to allow independent movement of locomotives not equipped with engineer's controls.
Hot Having plenty of steam pressure (applied to locomotives).
Hot Bearing Detector See Hot Box Detector.
Hot Box Overheated journal or bearing. Also called hub. This was a frequent cause of delay in the old days but is virtually nonexistent on trains that are completely equipped with ball-bearings. Trainmen are sometimes called hotbox detectors
Hot Box Detector (HBD) Trackside automated device used to detect hot bearings. It reports via radio to either the train crew and/or the dispatcher. May also detect hanging equipment and/or protruding objects (like a shifted load), count axles,  or report train speed.
Hot Jewel Same as hotbox.
Hot Shot Train with very high priority compared to other trains.
Hot Wheels Overheating of a railcar's wheels due to sticking brakes and brake shoes rubbing against the wheel tread. They can result in thermal cracking if severe.
Hot Worker Boilermaker who repairs leaks in the firebox or flue sheet while there is pressure in the boiler.
Hot-Footer Engineer or conductor in switching service who is always in a hurry.
Hot-Water Bottle Elesco feed water heater.
House Track A track entering or running alongside a freight house. Cars are spotted here for loading or unloading.
How Many Ems Have You Got? How many thousand pounds of tonnage is your engine pulling? (M stands for 1,000).
Hump 1) Artificial knoll at end of classification yard over which cars are pushed so that they can roll on their own momentum to separate tracks.  After the cars are released from a locomotive, they are controlled by an employee in a control tower. 2) The summit of a hill division or the top of a prominent grade.
Humpback Job Local freight run. (Conductor spends much time in caboose bending over his wheel reports)
Humped Count of cars that are sorted in a hump yard.
Humpers Trains destined to a "hump" yard.
Hut Brakeman's shelter just back of the coal bunkers on the tender tank of engines operating through Moffat Tunnel. May also refer to caboose, locomotive cab, switchman's shanty, or crossing watchman's shelter.
Hydrocal A US Gypsum product used in model railroading for the base of hard shell scenery.