• Weird Track Names

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

"layoff track" at bethlehem,pa mp 88 and the "pocket" at the bottom of the hump in allentown are two i can think of.......
  by Passenger
OK. What are 'pig trains'? Thanks.
  by Gadfly
Passenger wrote:OK. What are 'pig trains'? Thanks.

Piggyback trains, TOFC, Trailer on Flatcar trains. We called 'em "pigs" but they didn't OINK! :)
  by 10more years
Maybe a little deeper explanation: "pig trains" came from the use of truck trailers being "piggybacked " on flat cars, thus term piggyback trains. Official railroad terminology was Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC). The intent was to take business off the Interstate system and expand market share. Then, when outfits like SeaLand started using "containers" in their trans-oceanic ships, the railroad started their "Container on Flat Car" (COFC) business. Eventually, the term "pig train" came to refer to almost any intermodal train whether the traffic was TOFC or COFC, empty or loaded.
  by 10more years
Most of the weird names are just holdovers from events, or people from long ago that just stuck. Florence has a Seaboard Bridge spot where the SAL ran a track over the yard. Now, if you didn't know it, you couldn't tell it. Lots of places have a "dead" track because it just "dead-ends". The Charlie Baker signal in Rocky Mount was named for an old track guy who had to hand throw the mainline switches before they went to signaled territory.
  by scharnhorst
In Auburn New York at the Small Yard Yard there The Finger Lakes Railway refers to a siding that was put back in as the "Pallet Track" due to the large number of old rotting pallets that were stacked and abandoned there by a flour mill.
The passing siding across from it is referred to as the Doveville Siding and this a name going back to the Conrail era before the FGLK bought the track in 1995?
  by Desertdweller
I used to work in the WSOR yard in Madison, WI back when it was Milwaukee Road. I don't remember a "Long John" track, But I do remember the portion of the yard east of Washington Ave. was the "jungle". Must have been a hobo jungle there once.

We also had "coach tracks" that were used by TOFC flats.

My own favorite was a track on the Carolina Piedmont near Laurens, SC. Near the top of a grade was a siding named "Dublin". Because, if you had to double the hill, that's where you left the front half of your train.

  by GN 599
I am not trying to offend anyone at all because I never use the word but in Centralia WA the cleanout tracks used to be called negro 1 and negro 2,the other "N" word as african americans worked cleaning cars that were spotted on these tracks. Of course that was long ago, the NP changed the names of the tracks in the early 60's. We have sidings named Fuego, Stronghold and my favorite Scarface in my neck of the woods. They are in reference to native american/ U.S. Army people and events in the area.
  by Desertdweller
In the DM&E (now CP) yard at Pierre, SD we have the "Indian School Lead". Of course, this track goes to the Indian School, where it connects to the main.

When the yard was built, it was made to be switched from the east end, using that track as a drill track. Now there is a grain elevator that uses it as a loading track (holds about 50 jumbo hoppers). The yard is now switched from the west end, using a much shorter lead.

It is a pretty old yard for that part of the country. The oldest rail I found in use there was 60lb. rolled in April, 1876!

  by JWilson
The Chocolate switch in Mansfield, MA.
  by ExCon90
Meadows Yard on the PRR had a "Grape Lead"; I believe that's where carloads of grapes were unloaded. The interlocking crossing the H&M at that location was named GRAPE. There was also a Scenery Yard in Jersey City where the Metropolitan Opera and various Broadway shows loaded up to go on tour.
  by lirr42
New York Penn has the "Kelly Track," named "in honor of" the engineer who smashed his DD1 into the bumper block thinking it was line 2 of the East River Tunnels.
  by RussNelson
A friend of mine, Bob Reagan, used to work for the Central in his younger days as a brakeman. One of the tracks in the three-track Norwood, NY yard he says was called "The Bowry". He and I were trespassing in the yard looking for evidence of the wye that the Potsdam and Watertown Railroad used to turn their power when it was the terminus for 19 years (we found it), and he noticed that the switchstand says "Bowry" on it. Whether the name ever made sense, or still makes sense, it's still the name!
  by jogden
Alaska Railroad has the following tracks. There may be more, these are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

In Seward, there is the "Jesse Lee Main." I have no idea who Jesse Lee is or (more likely) was.

In Whittier, the depot track is also known as the "Princess" track. A little further south, in the yard, the "End Ramp" track is also known unofficially as "Area 51." Additionally Whittier yard has a "Bay" track and a "Mountain" track. To an outsider those may seem odd, but they are staging tracks where we build trains, and the "Mountain" is closer to the mountains, while the "Bay" is closer to the ocean.

Anchorage Yard has quite a few odd tracks, and odd situations. Several tracks have more than one name, depending where you are on the track. For example, the westernmost yard track is known as the "South Main," "Freight Main," and "North Main," depending where you are. Interestingly, it is not a main track at all. Tracks one and two are also known as "Lower 1" and "Lower 2" respectively, if you go far enough south on them. Even farther south on track one takes you to "Lower 1 Pocket, which is adjacent to the "Lower 7 Pocket." Going north, "Lower 7 Pocket" turns into "7 Lead," and is located next to "Lower 2" East of the "7 Lead" is the "Old Main" and "Old 1." And across the yard, on the other side of the "Freight Main" is "Old 12," which connects to "Old 14." Near "Old 14" is the "Open RIP," where nothing is repaired, but rather articulated flat cars are stored. Sounds confusing? It can be. But wait, there is more! At the north end of the yard, the "North Main" is adjacent to "Storage 2." East of and adjacent to "Storage 2" is the "Freight Main Storage," which connects to the "Work Lead," not the "Freight Main." Adjacent to the "Work Lead" is the "Gravel Main" and then the "Passenger Main." The "Passenger Main" is the only actual main track, although freight trains use it too. The "Work Lead" also connects to the "Van" and "URB." No one knows what "URB" stands for, and sometimes that gets called the "U-R-B," and other times it is called the "Urb." Back to the south end of the yard, there are two overlapping wyes, however, only one is officially a wye. The "South Main Pocket" forms one leg of the wye that isn't a wye. One leg is formed by the "South Leg" of the official wye, and the other leg is known as either the "Head In" or the "Kukachoo." In addition to the "South Leg," the official wye also has a "North Leg" and a "Straight Leg." After crossing a diamond on the "Straight Leg," that track becomes known as the "Roundhouse Lead," and with that name change the speed limit drops from 10 mph to 4 mph. Off of the roundhouse lead, there is a lead to the coach yard, another to the shed, and another to the roundhouse. Next to the shed one track is known as the "Old Man's" track.

In Healy, the siding listed in the timetable is known as Otto Siding. I can't figure that one out, since the station is Healy. On the opposite side of the main is the much longer "Love Track." I guess in timetables past that was also a siding, but in the current timetable it is considered an auxiliary track.

In Fairbanks the tracks make a lot more sense. The only odd names are the "Arctic Pass" and the "Golden Heart Lead," or "GHL." I am not sure where Arctic Pass comes from, but Fairbanks is known as the "Golden Heart" of Alaska, so my guess is that track was named after the city's nickname. As much as we call it the "GHL" though, someday it may become like the "URB" in Anchorage, where no one knows what the letters actually stand for. There is also another pocket track in Fairbanks.
  by ex Budd man
At Wayne Junction we have a 'coal track' along the main side of the shop where coal was dumped for the shop heating boilers. The grates and comcrete bunker are still there. And the 'lumber siding' along the Chestnut Hill East line where a freight house was located.