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Rabbit A derail. An arrangement for preventing serious wrecks by sidetracking runaway trains, cars, or locomotives on a downgrade. Unlike regular sidetracks, the derail ends relatively abruptly on flat trackless land instead of curving back onto the main line. The term rabbit is applied to this device because of the timidity involved.
Race Track Straight and flat stretch of track upon which an engineer can safely make unusually high speed. Also parallel stretches of track of two competing railroads upon which rival trains race one another (contrary to company rules but much to the delight of enginemen, trainmen, and passengers, and perhaps to the secret delight of some officials).
Rack Railroad A railroad that can climb steep grades by using a toothed cog wheel between the driving wheels of the locomotive that meshes with the teeth of a rack rail that is mounted to the cross ties between the other rails. Also called a Cog Railroad.
Radio Control A method of operating and controlling locomotives by means of radio signals transmitted through the air or by means of a carrier control basis through the track.
Rag Waver Flagman.
Rail Any railroad employee.
Rail Anchor A spring-steel device driven onto the base of the rail and bears against the tie, preventing it from moving by the resistance of the stone ballast.
Rail Car Self-propelled passenger carrying vehicle.
Rail Diesel Car (RDC) A self-propelled diesel-powered passenger car built by the Budd Company.
Rail Head The top of the rail.
Rail Joiner A formed piece of metal that joins two rails together and helps to complete the electrical circuit.
Rail Web The thin vertical section between the base and the head.
Rail Weight Expressed in "pounds per yard". Rail currently rolled in the USA ranges from 112# to 145#. Lighter rail (12#, 20#, etc.) is still rolled in other countries.
Railfan A person who enjoys riding, watching, photographing, and reading about trains.
Rake Wagons/carriages semi-permanently joined in an articulation rather than via a coupler.
Ran a Red Block Enter a circuit without clearance from the control tower.
Rap The Stack Give your locomotive a wide open throttle, make more speed. Rapper is an engineer who works his engine too hard.
Rat Slang for a freight train.
Rattle Her Hocks Get speed out of an engine.
Rattler 1) Freight train. 2) Streetcar.
Rawhider Official, or any employee, who is especially hard on men or equipment, or both, with which he works. A rawhider, or slave driver, delights in causing someone to do more than his share of work. Running too fast when picking up a man on the footboard, or making a quick stop just short of him when he is expecting to step on, so that he has to walk back, are two ways it is done, but there are almost as many ways of rawhiding as there are different situations
Razor Saw A fine toothed saw used by model railroaders that resembles a straight razor.
RCL (Remote Control Locomotive). A locomotive usually used in switching operated via remote radio control. The control base is usually worn on a belt known as a beltpack. While road locomotives must be operated by engineers according to labor laws, RCL units may be operated by switchman, a source of labor friction.
RCS (Remote Control Section) A type of Lionel track for unloading and uncoupling.
Real Estate Poor coal mixed with dirt or slag. When mixed with sand it is called seashore.
Recrew Crew used to bring a train into a terminal when the original crew has insufficient time to complete the trip and a second crew is necessary.
Rectifier A device for converting AC current into DC current.
Red Ball A fast freight train.
Red Board A red signal or horizontal semaphore arm requiring the train to stop and proceed with caution.
Red Eye 1) Same as red board. 2) Liquor.
Red Onion Eating house or sleeping quarters for railroad men.
Redcap Station porter. Term coined about 1900 by George H. Daniels, New York Central publicist.
Reefer A refrigerator car. Similar to a boxcar but has ice or mechanical cooling equipment.
Reefer Block A freight train consist of refrigerator cars.
Reagan [SL] Class 664 GM G26 C-C diesel. So called because Regan was the President of the USA at the time when they arrived.
Regenerative Braking Braking mode of electric locomotives, where the motors act as generators as with the dynamic braking but, the current is fed back to the supply rather than being dissipated as heat. Asynchronous motors can return 90% of the energy otherwise dissipated via dynamic braking.
Regional Railroad A railroad which is smaller than a major railroad but larger than a short line railroad.
Register Station A station at which a train register is located.
Regular Train A train authorized by a timetable schedule.
Relay Circuit Box A wooden or metal cabinet that holds the electronic relays that operate crossing flashers.
Relay Power Changing out a train's locomotives to correct a situation, such as bad order engines or wrong type/class of units for service.
Repeater Signal Signal placed on the opposite side of the track from the controlling signal. It repeats the aspect of the controlling signal for a greater range of vision.
Reporting Marks These are the letters or abbreviations that mark the sides of freight cars to identify what railroad owns the car. Also see Road Names.
Reptile See snake.
Resistor A device used to reduce the intensity of electricity.
Restricted Speed A speed that will permit stopping within one half the range of vision so that the train will stop short of train, engine, railroad car, stop signal, derail or switch not properly lined, looking out for broken rail, not exceeding 20 MPH.
Restricted Track A track section where train speeds are reduced.
Retainer A device added to the braking device on a car, to allow a portion of the air pressure to be retained in the brake cylinder of a car to help restrict the movement of a train on severe downgrades.
Retarder Braking system usually found in hump yards. Commonly pneumatically actuated, located on inside of rail, forcing a brake pad against the inside of the wheel flange, "pinching" the flange between the brake pad and the rail.
Retarder Yard See Hump.
Re-triggerable One-Shot Timing feature where the off-delay is a fixed time interval, but can be reset by a change in input.
Return Movement The movement of an uncoupled engine, engines, or leading portion of a train, directed back toward the remaining stationary portion of the same train.
Revenue Collection Train A train which picks up the revenue collected by the railroad clerk.
Reverse Movement A movement opposite the direction previously authorized.
Reversing A station where train reverses direction of travel . May be at normal dead end or terminal station.
Ribbon Rail Continuous welded rail, usually in 1/4 mile lengths.
Rider A paying passenger.
Ridin' 'Em High Traveling on tops of boxcars.
Ridin' The Rods An old-time hobo practice, now virtually obsolete. The hobo would place a board across truss rods under a car and ride on it. This was very dangerous even in pleasant weather, and the possibility was ever present that you might doze, get careless, become too cramped, or lose your nerve-and roll under the wheels.
Riding The Point Riding a locomotive, point referring to shape of pilot.
Right-Hand Side Engineer's side of cab (on nearly all North American roads). Left-hand side is fireman's side. When a fireman is promoted he is set up to the right-hand side.
Right-of-Way (RoW) 1) The land on which a railroad is built. 2) The precedence given to one train to proceed before another.
Ringmaster Yardmaster.
Riprap Loose pieces of heavy stone or masonry used in some places to protect roadbeds from water erosion.
Rip-Track 1) An area of the maintenance yard where equipment is repaired. Means "Repair-In-Place", as opposed to being sent to a car shop. 2) [MR] A few sections of track by a freight yard or on a shelf above the workbench.
Rivet Buster Boilermaker.
Road Bed A layer of earth or gravel which provides a foundation for ties and rail.
Road Engine Locomotive used regularly for mainline service.
Road Hog Any large motor vehicle on a highway, especially intercity trailer trucks and busses that cut into railroad freight and passenger revenue.
Road Names Names of various railroad companies in the United States and Canada. Also see Reporting Marks.
Road Unit A diesel locomotive built specifically for mainline service. the wheels and axles are of a more heavy duty design, and the gearing of the traction motors are more appropriate to the higher speeds.
Roadmaster Manager in charge of RoW for an operating entity, such as a division or branch. Reports are track workers, electricians, bridge & building crews, track foremen, etc.
Roadrailers The "transformers" of the intermodal world. In minutes, these over the road trailers can be equipped with rail trucks, allowing them to "morph" into railcars. Amtrak began a series of tests on RoadRailers back in 1991, and put them into regular service in 1996.
Road-Switcher A general-purpose diesel that can be used for both yard switching and road duties. Also called Hood Units.
Roadway Worker Any employee of a railroad, or of a contractor to a railroad.
Rolling Resistance Resistance that is made up of wheel friction, journal friction, and wind resistance. It is non recoverable.
Rolling Stock Freight and passenger cars.
Roof Garden Mallet-type locomotive or any helper engine on a mountain job. Sometimes called sacred ox.
Roofed Caught in close clearance.
Roughneck Freight brakeman.
Roundhouse A building shaped like a semicircle, usually surrounding a turntable, in which locomotives and other railroad equipment are inspected, cleaned, repaired and serviced.
Rotary Dumper A bulk unloading system that clamps an open car to a section of rail, then inverts the car to dump the contents into a bin.
Route-Mile The actual distance traveled over the tracks between two points.
RTR Ready to run. A model train that needs no assembly.
Rubber Switch A switch that remains set to whichever position forced to by cars trailing through it. Use to avoid split switches where reversing movements may occur on the switch. Also see Spring Switch.
Rubberneck Car Observation car.
Rule G Railroad work rule against the use of intoxicants.
Rules-In-Effect The specific operating rule or group of operating rule that govern the use of tracks, as designated in the Timetable.
Ruling Grade The point on a run at which the combination of grade and curve resistance makes the train pull hardest and, therefore, "rules" how heavy a load can be given to the locomotive.
Run The train to which a man is assigned is his run.
Run In Describes the action of the slack between the cars moving forward and hitting against the engine. A run out would be the opposite effect.
Run Light For an engine to run on the tracks without any cars.
Run Through Train that generally is not scheduled to add (pick up) or reduce (set out) railcars enroute.
Run Around 1) A switching maneuver in which the locomotive uncouples from its train, pulls ahead, backs past on an adjacent track, and moves forward to couple onto the rear of the train. 2) The track where the maneuver takes place. 3) If an employee is not called for work in turn, he/she may claim pay for the run which he/she missed. In such cases, it is said he has been given a "run-around."
Run Eight Highest controller position on EMD diesels; full speed.
Run-In 1) A collision. 2) An argument or fight.
Runner Locomotive engineer.
Running Board The walkway around the boiler of a steam engine ,along the roof of a car or along the sides of tank cars.
Running Gear All the components involved in allowing the movement of a railroad car, such as wheels, axles, axle boxes, springs and frames.
Running in Your Britches Slang for using the steam brake to retard forward motion. So named because it requires pulling the Johnson bar all the way back (into the engineer's lap on some engines) and applying enough steam to slow the train.
Running Through A Switch Entering a switch at the points. Opposite of "trailing through a switch".
Running Track A designated track on which movements may be made by signal indication or at Restricted Speed under the authority of an employee designated in the Timetable.
Runt Dwarf signal.
Run Through Train An expedited train that runs from origin to destination and bypasses classification yards, even when moving from one railroad to another.
Rust or Streak O' Rust Railroad.
Rust Pile Old locomotive.
Rustling The Bums Searching a freight train for hobos. In bygone days it was common practice for trainmen to collect money from freight-riding 'bos, often at the rate of a dollar a division.