Wikipedia:WikiProject Trains/Manual of style

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Following are guidelines and suggestions on the style of train articles for WikiProject Trains.


A topic is presumed to be notable if it has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject. For general advice on notability of articles see WP:N.

The primary Wikipedia notability criteria for organisations (WP:ORG) would also need to be consulted. In particular, a company, corporation, organization, group, product, or service is notable if it has been the subject of coverage in secondary sources. Such sources must be reliable, and independent of the subject. The depth of coverage of the subject by the source must be considered. If the depth of coverage is not substantial, then multiple independent sources should be cited to establish notability. Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject by secondary sources is not sufficient to establish notability. Once notability is established, primary sources may be used to add content. Ultimately, and most importantly, all content must be attributable.

When that has been done, train specific criteria may be considered. That an article meets one or more of these criteria, or doesn't meet any of them, is not by itself proof of notability.

Train specific criteria[edit]

  1. Railroad and rail transport operating companies
  2. Rolling stock
  3. Equipment manufacturers
    • Currently operating manufacturers.
    • Companies that have been labeled as a superlative type (first, largest, etc.).
    • Companies that have been depicted on postage stamps in any country.
  4. Railroad infrastructure and buildings (Note that discussion is ongoing for notability guidelines on railway and rapid transit/subway stations.)
    • Any structure labeled as historically significant by reputable and verifiable external sources, such as the National Register of Historic Places.
    • Structures that have appeared on postage stamps in any country.
    • Any piece of equipment or equipment part where a history of the development can be described (more than just a dictionary definition).
  5. Rail transport museums
    • Any museum whose collection includes culturally or historically significant rolling stock or infrastructure, such as equipment or structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  6. People (For articles on living people, the Wikipedia policy Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons applies, and must be consulted. In all cases Wikipedia:Notability (people) should also be consulted.)
    • Founders, Presidents, CEOs and Chief Mechanical Engineers of railroad companies.
    • Railroaders who have been honored at the national level in any country with an award, such as Railroader of the Year.
    • Railroaders who have appeared on postage stamps in any country, i.e. Jimmie Rodgers (the "singing brakeman") or Casey Jones.
    • Railroaders who have been identified as noteworthy by reputable and verifiable external sources, such as those who appear in: White, John H. Jr. (Spring 1986). "America's most noteworthy railroaders". Railroad History. 154: 9–15. ISSN 0090-7847. OCLC 1785797. 
  7. Events
    • Events that served as important turning points in rail transport history.
    • Accidents where a significant number of casualties or a significant amount of property damage occur (this is purposely not nailed down to a specific number for either criterion).
    • Accidents that form the basis for rail transport legislation.
    • Events that have been labeled as historically significant by reputable and verifiable external sources.
  8. Historical, technical and preservation organizations

This list is not intended to be used as minimum requirements.

General style guidelines[edit]

Lead paragraph[edit]

  • Write a concise lead section that summarizes the content of the entire article.
  • The first sentence should provide a definition of the article subject, including (where applicable) the company's reporting marks; use the {{reporting mark}} template to present the mark in a standardized format.
  • If there is another common abbreviation for the subject, state it in the lead section.

Talk page[edit]


  • The most general stub type for rail transport is {{rail-transport-stub}}.
  • Use the most specific stub type applicable (as listed on Category:Rail transport stubs), deferring to {{rail-transport-stub}} only when the existing subtypes are not appropriate.
  • Multiple stub templates can be used on a stub (such as using both {{diesel-loco-stub}} and {{US-rail-transport-stub}} on an article about a diesel locomotive that was only used in the US), but avoid adding more than two stub templates to any specific article.
  • In order to create a new stub type, identify at least around 50 articles that would fall into the proposed stub category and then make a proposal on the WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals page.


  • The most general category for rail transport is Category:Rail transport
  • Use the most specific categories applicable, deferring to Category:Rail transport only when the existing categories are not appropriate.
  • Do not place articles into both a category and that category's parent category, but use the more specific of the two.
  • There are categories for beginnings and endings based on start and end years as appropriate. For companies, add [[Category:Railway companies established in YEAR]] and [[Category:Railway companies disestablished in YEAR]]; for biographies, add [[Category:YEAR births]] and [[Category:YEAR deaths]] (if both birth and death years are known, {{lived}} provides a handy shortcut). Train service or rolling stock equipment introductions can be categorized in [[Category:YEAR introductions]]. In each of these, substitute YEAR with the appropriate year number (the complete four-digit year).

Articles about rail transport companies (railroads) style guide[edit]

Article name[edit]

Summary information and lead section[edit]

Standard subsections[edit]

  • History of the railroad and significant predecessors
  • Territory and/or station list
  • Company officers (presidents and CEOs only) through history
  • Major service areas


A default sort key ahould be created by removing commas and conjunctions, adding an extra space before the "Railroad" or "Railway", spelling out abbreviations like St., and "updating" old spellings like Pittsburg. For instance, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, Chicago and North Western Railway, and Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad would be "Chicago Milwaukee Saint Paul  Railway", "Chicago Milwaukee Saint Paul Pacific  Railroad", "Chicago North Western  Railway", and "Chicago Rock Island Pacific  Railroad", and would appear in that order in categories such as Category:Former Class I railroads in the United States.

Articles about rail transport equipment (rolling stock) style guide[edit]


Article name[edit]

  • Articles about a generic type of equipment should use the equipment type's most general name with subsections for specific subtypes (such as Refrigerator car)
  • Articles about a specific model of equipment that may have been used by more than one company should be named as MANUFACTURER MODEL (such as EMD SD40-2)
  • Articles about a specific class of equipment used by a specific railroad company should be named with the most common company and class names (such as PRR K4s)
  • Articles about specific single pieces of equipment should be named with the most common name used to identify the equipment, using disambiguation as appropriate (such as John Bull (locomotive)); if the equipment is known by its operating number, the number should be prefaced with the most common railroad identifier (such as Santa Fe 3751)

Standard subsections[edit]

  • Design and historical development
  • Preservation

Articles about named passenger train services style guide[edit]

Summary information and lead section[edit]

  • The first sentence of the article text should list the service name, operating railroad(s), service endpoints (i.e. Chicago to Los Angeles) and the beginning and ending service years; for example, the following would be an acceptable lead sentence:
    The Fooian Express was a passenger train service operated by the Bar None Railroad between Frozz, Michigan, and Bazz, Ohio, from 1882 to 1926.


  • Within the article text, train names are italicized (as in Super Chief)
  • For Amtrak services, use {{Infobox rail service}} and the appropriate footer navbox(es)

Article name[edit]

  • The article name should be the service's official name
  • Where disambiguation is necessary, first disambiguate to "(passenger train)" (as in Chief (passenger train)) then to individual railroad companies as needed (as in Southern Belle (KCS) and Southern Belle (LBSC))
  • Do not use the word "the" in the article title unless it is part of the service's official name

Standard subsections[edit]

  • History
  • Route and equipment used
  • Legacy


  • Add articles to the appropriate [[Category:Railway services introduced in YEAR]] and [[Category:Railway services discontinued in YEAR]], where YEAR is the year that the named service began or ended.
  • Where there is a category for the operating railroad, add the article to that category (and to the specific passenger service subcategory if it exists)
  • For named passenger services, add it to the appropriate category under Category:Named passenger trains