Glossary of Australian railway terms

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This page contains a list of jargon used to varying degrees by railway enthusiasts / railfans and trainspotters in Australia, including nicknames for various locomotives and multiple units. Although not exhaustive, many of the entries in this list appear from time to time in specialist, rail-related publications. Inclusion of a term in this list does not necessarily imply its universal adoption by all railfans and enthusiasts, and there may be significant regional variation in usage. State variances may be indicated by the state abbreviation, e.g. (VIC), (NSW), etc.

Words in italics indicate terms defined elsewhere in this list.

For general railway terminology, see rail terminology.
For terminology specific to the types of lines used for passenger trains, see passenger rail terminology.
For terminology specific to the United Kingdom, see Glossary of United Kingdom railway terms.
For terminology specific to North America, see Glossary of North American railway terms.
For terminology specific to New Zealand, see Glossary of New Zealand railway terms

0–9[edit]

  • 412 or Regulation 412: A inside joke in which 412 is always highlighted, no matter the context, or in the case of Regulation 412, a fictional rule in which anything can be justified.[1]

A[edit]

  • Annie Oakey set : QR heritage carriages, allusions of the Wild West.

B[edit]

  • Bandicoot: (QLD) an EMU with a distinctive grey band painted across the cab wind shields.
  • BETY: QR pacific type BB18¼ 4-6-2 steam locomotive used on express passenger and freight trains. Named after the telegraphic code.
  • Blue babies: QR DD17 class suburban tank engine, in a blue midway between Navy and Sky blue.
  • BOG : the light indicating the end of the train (Battery-operated Guard).
  • Broad gauge: 5' 3" Irish Gauge as used in the states of Victoria and South Australia. Standard Gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) exists nationwide except for the state of Tasmania, Queensland runs some 'narrow' 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) lines as do the states of West Australia and South Australia. The island state of Tasmania is exclusively 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm).
  • Brown bomber: a QR C17 4-8-0 (2D) steam engine, typically painted brown.
  • Bug Hut: (VIC) Victorian Railways "Workmen's Sleepers" - primarily surplus carriage stock converted to on-site work crew accommodation

C[edit]

  • Cyclops: (QLD) an EMU with one cab modified to only have one central wind shield, which can then only be used as a guard's cab in the middle of a six-car set.

D[edit]

  • DERM: Victorian diesel electric rail motor.
  • DET: see detonator.
  • Detonator: explosive device placed on rail and triggered by wheel pressure. Used to warn of hazard ahead.
  • Dog: (VIC/QLD) spike/dogspike.
  • Doggies: (VIC) former "dog box" type red suburban trains.

E[edit]

  • Electric staff: system of safeworking used on single track to allow the movement of trains.
  • Emu: electric multiple unit, or (QLD) a specific class of suburban train.
  • Evans set: (QLD) Brisbane wooden suburban set.

F[edit]

  • Flying flea: the portion of the Westlander that divides at Charleville for Quilpie. (Historic)

G[edit]

  • Gabby: a rail enthusiast or train spotter who photographs Hitachi suburban electric trains in particular.
  • Gunzel: a rail enthusiast or train spotter (US: Foamer).

H[edit]

  • Harris: (VIC) former Harris type (or Blue) electric suburban train.

I[edit]

L[edit]

  • Light-headed guard: See BOG

M[edit]

  • Mothballed: (QLD) A railway line that is still owned by Queensland Rail, but no longer operated on. As a few lines were closed, before having to be rebuilt again like the Cleveland Line, QR no longer completely closes lines, so that the railway need only be fixed to an operable condition if 're-opened'.

N[edit]

  • Number nicker: A rail fan who writes down numbers of trains they have seen, also number shark

P[edit]

  • PawPaw: QR class 1170 desiel.
  • Peg: colloquial term for train staff (token).
  • PERM: petrol electric rail motor.

R[edit]

  • Rail motor stopping place (RMSP): a short platform on a country line specifically for picking up and setting down of passengers of a rail motor.
  • Rattler: (QLD) colloquial term for former Evans sets in Brisbane.
  • Red rattler: (VIC/NSW) colloquial term for the former red Tait (VIC) and Tulloch/Comeng single-deck (NSW) suburban electric trains.

S[edit]

  • Silver: (VIC) colloquial term for a Hitachi suburban electric trains.
  • Six-volt guard: see BOG
  • Snapper: (QLD) roaming staff who check tickets, e.g. on trains or at stations.
  • Spark: suburban electric train.
  • Steel set: QR suburban passenger sets from 1960s, replacing the Evans sets.
  • Standard gauge: (QLD) 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm), as opposed to the 'broad' standard gauge used in other states.
  • Stick: colloquial term for signal.

T[edit]

  • Tait: (VIC) former Tait type (or Red) electric suburban train, known colloquially as red rattlers.
  • Twix: two trains on the same mainline.

U[edit]

V[edit]

(NSW) V-set : double deck interurban trains, targeted "V".

W[edit]

  • White set: a Queensland Railways long-distance train, from the 1950s (livery).

Y[edit]

  • Yank: QR AC16 class steam loco. American Balwin locos imported during WW2. 221A still in service with QR.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]