||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
A water stop or water station on a railroad is a place where trains stop to replenish water. The stopping of the train itself is also referred to as "water stop". The term originates from the times of steam engines, when large amounts of water were essential. In these times they were also called wood and water stops or coal and water stops, since it was reasonable to replenish engines with fuel as well.
In the United States, many water stops along new railways evolved into new settlements. When a train stopped for water and positioned by a water tower, the boilerman swung out the spigot arm over the water tender and "jerked" the chain to begin watering. This gave rise to a 19th-century slang term "Jerkwater town" for towns too insignificant to have a regular train station. The variants were "Jerktown" and "Jerkwater", which are still in use in the meaning of "insignificant", although today "Jerktown" is rather understood as a "town of jerks".
As the U.S. railroad system expanded, large numbers of tank ponds were built by damming various small creeks that intersected the tracks in order to provide water for water stops. Largemouth bass were often stocked in tank ponds, see "Bass fishing" for more.
With the replacement of steam engines by diesel locomotives many of them, especially in deserted areas, have become ghost towns. The town of Coalinga, California, gets its name from the original coal stop at this location, Coaling A.
- "History of Allen", a brochure about Allen, Texas
- For example, a section of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad running in the Mojave Desert between Ludlow and Amboy had water stops spaced by 5–10 miles: Lavic, Ragtown, Ash Hill, Klondike, Siberia, Bagdad, see Google Maps, all eight of them being ghost towns now.
- Irving Lewis Allen (1993) "The City in Slang: New York Life and Popular Speech", Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-509265-1 p. 254
- "Jerkwater", The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. (accessed: October 03, 2007)
- Maury Klein (2000) "The Life & Legend of E.H. Harriman", UNC Press, ISBN 0-8078-2517-4 p. 142
- Roy R. Roberg, Jack L. Kuykendall (1993) "Police & Society", Wadsworth Pub. Co. ISBN 0-534-19872-4, p. 81
- Waterman, Charles F., Black Bass & the Fly Rod, Stackpole Books (1993)
- Ryan, Will, Smallmouth Strategies for the Fly Rod, Lyons & Burford Publishers (1996)