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W

Wabash 1) To hit cars going into adjacent tracks. (See cornered) 2) Also refers to the officially frowned-upon practice of slowing up for a stop signal at a crossing with another railroad instead of stopping.
Wagon European term for a railway vehicle used for conveying goods.
Walk the Dog Run a train fast enough for the high cars to sway from side to side.
Walk Up Against The Gun Ascend a steep grade with the injector on.
Wall Street Notch Forward corner of reverse lever quadrant in engine cab (more commonly called company notch). Called Wall Street notch because engine pays dividends when heaviness of train requires engine to be worked that way.
Washout 1) When a flood or a flash flood washes away ballast and roadway under track. 2) An emergency stop signal, waved violently by using both arms and swinging them in downward arc by day, or swinging lamp in wide low semicircle across tracks at night.
Watch Your Pins Be careful around stacks of ties, rails, etc.
Water Column A standing pipe adjacent to the track connected to a water supply for filling steam locomotives.
Way Car A freight car carrying local shipments.
Way Freight A train serving local customers.
Waybill The document that specifies such freight-shipping details as final destination, routes and shipping companies.
Wearing Blue Delayed by car inspectors. A blue flag or blue light is placed on cars thus delayed and being worked on.
Wearing Green Locomotive carrying green markers. When a scheduled train runs in more than one section, all except the last must display green flags or green lights.
Weathering Making shiny models look more realistic by painting them to show the effects of use.
Weed Bender Railroaders' derisive term for cowboy, other such terms being hay shaker, clover picker, and plow jockey. Commonest term for cowboy is cowpuncher, which is of railroad origin. Cowboys riding stock trains prod the cattle.
Weed Weasel Company official spying on crews.
Weedburner Flame thrower vehicle which rides on the tracks and is used to kill weeds along the track right-of way.
Westinghouse Air brake, also called windjammer.
Wet Mule In The Firebox Bad job of firing a locomotive.
Whale Belly Steel car, or type of coal car with drop bottom. Also called sow belly.
Wheel Run a train at speed.
Wheel Detection Sensing of rail wheel with metal sensor, or track circuit.
Wheel 'Em Let a train run without braking. Wheeling means carrying or hauling at good speed; also called highballing. You say wheeling the berries when you mean hauling the berry crop at high speed.
Wheel Knocker Car inspector.
Wheel Monkey Car inspector.
Wheel Pull Caused by the friction between the brake shoe and the wheel and transmitted to the rail.
Wheel Rolling The wheel rotating on its axle theoretically without motion existing between the wheel and the rail at the area of contact.
Wheel Set Pair of wheels secured to an axle.
Wheel Sliding The wheel not rotating on its axle and motion existing between the wheel and rail at the area of contact.
Wheel Slipping The wheel rotating on its axle with motion existing between the wheel and rail at the area of contact.
When Do You Shine? What time were you called for?
Whiskers Age or seniority.
Whistle Out A Flag Engineer blows one long and three short blasts for the brakeman to protect rear of train.
Whistle Post A post marked "W" that marks an upcoming grade crossing, at a distance sufficient to warn traffic at the allowable track speed. Slower trains may delay whistling until closer to the crossing.
Whistle Signals
* = short blast
- = long blast
Meaning
* apply brakes, stop
* * answer to any signal not otherwise provided for
* * * when standing, back
* * * * call for signals
- test train brakes
- - release train brakes
- - - when running, stop at next passenger station
- - - when standing, train parted
- - - - recall flagman from south or west
- - - - - recall flagman from north or east
- * * calling attention to another train whose signals are displayed for a following section
- * * * flagman protect the rear of train
* * * - flagman protect the front of train
- - * approaching meeting or waiting points
- - * - approaching crossing at grade
- * * - answer to yellow temporary reduced speed flag placed 1 1/2 miles in advance of restricted tracks
White Feather Plume of steam over safety valves, indicating high boiler pressure.
White Ribbons White flags (an extra train).
Whitewash Milk.
Whiting Hoist A type of jack system, utilizing four hoists to lift the frame of a steam locomotive off of it's running gear.
Whyte System F. M. Whyte's system of classification is used to describe the wheel arrangement of conventional steam locomotives. In this system, the first number is the number of leading wheels, and the last is the number of trailing wheels. The middle number (or numbers) give the number and arrangement of drivers. A "T" at the end indicates a tank engine.
Widen On Her Open the throttle, increase speed.
Wigwag A grade crossing signal, which utilizes a swinging target with a central red light to attract a driver's attention.
Wildcat A runaway locomotive.
Willie Waybill for loaded car.
Wind Air brakes.
Windows Same as curfew, but also can mean holding trains for things other than Maintenance of Way curfews, such as operating passenger trains.
Windy A slang term for a car going down a track with no air or hand brake applied.
Wing Her Set brakes on moving train.
Wing Rail A continuous running rail that forms the obtuse angle of a diamond crossing. Also a running rail from switch heel towards nose which is then set to form check rail past nose of common crossing.
Wise Guy Station agent.
Wolf or Lone Wolf Non-brotherhood man.
Work Train A train engaged in company service for which no revenue is received.
Work the Water Some old-time engineers preferred to work the water (operate the injector and watch the water glass or gauge cocks). On most roads the fireman now works the water.
Working A Car Unloading a storage mail car.
Working Mail Mail in sacks and pouches consigned to R.P.O. (Railway Post Office) cars to be "worked" or sorted in transit.
Worm Gear A gear with slightly slanted or dished teeth to mesh with the worm. In model railroading the worm gear is usually mounted on the driving axle.
Wrecking Crew Relief crew. Derogatory term derived from the difficulty regular men sometimes experience in rearranging a car after it has been used by relief men.
Wrong Iron Main track on which the current of traffic is in the opposite direction.
Wye A track with three switches and three legs forming a large triangle which enables an entire train to turn around.