For those of you of 'non railway' origins or are a little confused at the amount of abbreviations and codes used on the website then this page is here for your reference and perusal. We have listed below some of the most commonly used terms and will add more as and when they are applicable.


ATP: Automatic Train Protection , has the ability to monitor the train and take control if signals or speed restrictions are passed or exceeded by the driver.

AUTOBALLASTER: Type of wagon. Used to drop vast amounts of Ballast onto the trackside automatically from the end of the train.

AWS: Automatic Warning System , Installed in all trains, alerts drivers in the cabs with an audible and visual display on approaching signals, if it's not acknowledged by the driver, the train brakes are applied.

BARRIER CAR/ VAN: A Coach used to allow loco's to couple to other incompatible coupling types, They can also be used for braking purposes on single HST Powercar movements.

BASHERS: Rail Enthusiasts who spend all their time traveling on trains, collecting loco's for maximum mileages.

BEER EX: Popular trains run by many companies on various lines. Real Ale Trains and Jazz Music can be enjoyed on an evenings trip on a branch line.

B&H/ BERKS AND HANTS: Mainline from Cogload Jn - Westbury and onwards to London Paddington

CHINA CLAY: Not clay made in China, it's produced in Cornwall for export and use in making Bone China by the pottery industry. Mainly in Stoke on Trent and Italy.

'CLAG': A Term from Steam Days, it's the amount of exhaust produced by a loco.

'CLAG MONSTER': As above, but somewhat of a rough engine all together. Plenty of exhaust, very loud a general beast of a loco!

CWR: Continuous Welded Rail, no bolted/jointed track, when lengths of rail meet, they are cut and welded into place.

CWR Train: A Train carrying lengths of rails to be dropped and welded during an engineering blockade

DIT: Dead in Tow/ Train , much the same as DRAG. A broken down locomotive (or a loco which is required to be towed on the main line) is tucked inside the leading loco.

DOR: Dead On Rear , any loco being moved around switched off at the rear of a train.

DRAG: The term used to describe a train which has broken down and it being towed for the rest/part of the journey.

DRS: Direct Rail Services , Based in Carlisle they specialize in Nuclear Traffic, as well as other Chemical Trains, and long distance freight for Malcom Group.

.............Ex: Term added to the end of a special train, charter, or EXcursion. For example: Beer Ex, Nosh Ex, Eden Ex, Jazz Ex,  Kettle Ex, Posh Ex, Hippy Ex

ECS: Empty Coaching Stock , simply a train running empty from one place to another.

ECML: East Coast Main Line (London Kings Cross - Edinburgh)

Eden Ex: The term given to any train visiting the EDEN PROJECT in Cornwall.

EWS: English Welsh and Scottish Railways , the main operator of Freight and Charter services in England

FHH/ FLHH: Freightliner Heavy Haul, a division of Freightliner who run 'Non Container' freight services across England.

Garden Ex : Any Railtour heading to Cornwall for the 'Lost Gardens' experience

GBRF: Freight Company based in North West London, at Willesden.

GWR: Great Western Railway

GWML: Great Western Main Line (London Paddington - Bristol TM)

'GTI': Generally a mini train, undersized with plenty of power spare with such a small load. Much like the GTI Cars on the road.

HABD: Hot Axle Box Detector , A box sat on next to the railway track, which detects if axles on trains may be running hot.

HEADBOARD: Decorative metal/ timber fixtures applied to the front end of locomotives, for railtours or special events.

HIPPY EX: Extra trains run in conjunction with the Glastonbury Festival each year

HOBC: High Output Ballast Cleaner (Operated by Network Rail)

HST: High Speed Train / Intercity 125

JAZZ EX: Term given to any train with a special Jazz Band on board.

KETTLE: Yes the purists hate it but, these Kettles are of course Steam Trains, named so because of their ability to boil water.

KETTLE EX: You've guessed it, a Steam Train Excursion.

MUDEX: Any Train taking passengers to the Glastonbury Festival when raining

NMT: A High speed track recording train, operated by Network Rail and AEA Technology, which travels around the country measuring and monitoring track conditions. It's painted bright yellow and often catches the eye of many a passenger while working around the country on it's weekly duties.

NOSH EX: Term given to any type of main line dining train. (See VSOE)

Pathfinder: Pathfinder Railtours, operate tours for Enthusiasts, and 'Joe Public' all over the UK. Often passing Taunton.

PCV: Propelling Control Vehicle , used by mail trains as a means of shunting. Drivers can stand in the rear coach and drive for short periods from the correct end when shunting trains at main terminals.

PDSR: Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway

PHOT/PHOTTERS: Short for Photograph, and Photters are the the people taking the Phots!

Pet Skip/Shed: This is a 'Pet Loco' a loco that you have chosen as a pet is one that you often photograph or always see. (See also Class 66/67)

POLYBULK: Another type of wagon used to convey large amounts of China Clay.

RETB: Radio Electric Token Block, fitted to loco's for work on the Scottish Highland Lines.

THUNDERBIRD: Any loco sent to rescue a broken down train, or any loco assigned to standby rescue duties

TOPS/TRUST : Two computer based database programs used by railway companies to track, allocate, enter and evaluate the performance of trains across the country. Virgin also use their own system called GEMINI

TPO: Traveling Post Office , Run by the Royal Mail staff sort the mail inside the train overnight.

TPWS: Train Protection Warning System , similar to ATP in it's operation.

TRT: Track Renewal Train operated by Network Rail

TTA: Type of Wagon used to move Fuel around the country. Small with 2 Axles

SANDITE: A mixture of Sand and Anti Freeze which is applied to the rails by a dedicated locomotive/train to aid the adhesion of other trains passing selected areas of slippery track during the Autumn/ Winter periods.

SDR: South Devon Railway

SERCO: Company who operates test trains for Network Rail, based in Derby.

SILVER BULLETS: A Type of clay slurry wagon made of Stainless Steel, when new they are very shiny, and lots of them on one train looked like silver bullets. The name stuck but the train is now never cleaned and they look nothing like them!

SLEEPER: A Service operated by Firstgroup (First Great Western) where passengers can catch a train and sleep overnight in births, and arrive at Penzance or London the next morning.

SRPS: Scottish Railway Preservation Society

SWRG (South West Rail Gen): Internet based Gen Group for collating all information on movements of trains in the South West

STOCK MOVE: The movement of railway coaching stock between two locations.

T&T: Simply TOP AND TAIL , one loco on the front of a train and the other at the rear of the train. With engineers is saves running round if track isn't in place or shunter's are not available to uncouple loco's. It may also be required which a train needs extra assistance from the rear by another loco!

T&V RUN: Trespass and Vandal Train sent out light engine with cameras in the cabs of loco's to catch people on the track where they shouldn't be, along with filming other security issues.

VEG: Namely 'Trainspotters' this is the 'breed' you see dribbling on the end of platforms at every station, who are always out in all weathers, and look like they haven't washed in months!

VICE: A loco or train that's working in place or instead of the booked train.

VSOE: Venice Simplon Orient Express , high class dining trains run with Pullman coaches.

WCML: West Coast Main Line (London Euston - Glasgow)

WSR: West Somerset Railway

Yellow Banana/Yellow HST: A High speed track recording train, operated by Network Rail and AEA Technology, which travels around the country measuring and monitoring track conditions. It's painted bright yellow and often catches the eye of many a passenger while working around the country on it's weekly duties. (See NMT)


Bristol: Don't worry I'm not being stupid here, Bristol of course has two stations, Bristol Temple Meads (Bristol TM) this is based in the centre of the city and is of course the largest of the two stations. Bristol Parkway (Bristol P'way) is of course situated to the north of Bristol within easy reach of the M32, M4, M5. This is also where the Royal Mail Terminal is based.

Bristol RMT: Bristol Royal Mail Terminal, situated behind Bristol P'way station. Now disused

Burngullow: Situated to the South of St Austell, this is a large China Clay loading terminal, and is where most Cornish Clay traffic comes from.

Cardiff Canton: This was the EWS Maintenance Facility for Wales, and is located to the West of Cardiff Central station. It can be seen in the distance from the Western end of the station platform.

Cattewater: Located in Plymouth this serves the Esso Oil Terminal, and gives access to the Scrap Loading terminal to the South of Laira Depot.

Cliffe Vale: Wedgwood Country, The Cliffe Vale unloading terminal is situated at Stoke On Trent where China Clay is then used from Cornwall to make Bone China.

Dollands Moor: This is the secure facility for handling all trains heading in and out of the Channel Tunnel, this is also where loco swaps will take place in order to allow the Class 92 loco's to take trains through to France.

Earles Sidings: Situated on the Hope Valley Line between Sheffield and Manchester. This Cement plant produces cement for shipping out to customers across the UK. This is of course where the twice weekly Freightliner turn originates from.

Fawley: Fawley is an Esso Oil refinery based on the South Coast, near Southampton and Portsmouth. Producing huge amounts of Oil, Petrol and Bitumen each day, much of which is sent out by train to terminals around the country.

Irvine: Situated to the north of Ayr in Scotland, this plant receives China Clay Slurry from Cornwall on a twice weekly working.

Meldon: This stone quarry is located on the edge of Dartmoor, this once busy quarry now rarely see's stone traffic leaving by rail, instead the line is now run by the Dartmoor Railway. But it's remote location and lack of access makes it a place that not many will ever find!

Moorswater: This is of course where Freightliner end up after coming down from Earles Sidings. The Cement unloading terminal is at Liskeard in Cornwall, and is accessed by means of a huge circular loop which diverts from the main line at Liskeard dropping some considerable height to the base of the valley floor.

Laira: This is First Great Westerns maintenance facility for it's South West operation, once used by BR to service Units, HST's, 47's 50's and 37's the plant now only carried out heavy maintenance on HST's, and overnight servicing to Virgins Fleet of Voyagers. Located on the left on the approach to Plymouth station it's often seen with an array of stock awaiting attention.

Landore: This is the Welsh end of First Great Westerns operation in Swansea, again carrying out maintenance on FGW Stock.

Long Rock: In simple terms, Penzance. This maintenance facility services FGW Sleeper trains, Virgin Voyagers and Units for Wessex and is the most Westerly depot of it's type in the UK

Longsite: Based in Manchester for Virgin Trains, this depot services all items of Virgin Rolling stock.

Low Fell: Was a Royal Mail terminal just to the South of Newcastle. Dedicated to the Royal Mail and therefore rarely seen by the public!

Old Oak Common: The London based depot on the way into Paddington, and can be viewed from the main line. This depot is occupied by EWS, First Great Western, and the Heathrow Express.

St Blazey: The EWS South West depot. Situated near Par in Cornwall. Services EWS loco's and Wessex Trains units, as well as China Clay wagons on routine repairs.

St Phillips Marsh: This is the other First Great Western Depot, located in Bristol and again rarely seen by the public. It's a major servicing point for all their trains.

Stoke Gifford: Also in Bristol, this is the small yard area to the rear of Bristol P'way station. Often used to stable trains awaiting further onward travel to Avonmouth and the South West.

Tavistock Jn (Tavi Yard): Situated just to the north of Plymouth on the outskirts, and can be seen from the A38 Plymouth Jn. A major player in railway engineering, storage and day to day operations.

Willesden: London, situated on the West Coast Mail Line on the outskirts to London it's the Royal Mails biggest MAIL HUB, and one of the largest yards for intermodal traffic arriving from the Channel Tunnel and Scotland.


The locomotives and units that pass through Taunton each day also have nicknames and phrases to which they are referred to. So here is the following:

Class 08: Gronks

Class 09: Super Gronks

Class 20 (Nuclear Flask to Bridgwater): Choppers, Wardrobes, Tits

Class 31: Peds, Skinheads, Brians (Brian the snail from the Magic Roundabout),  Goyles.

Class 37: Tractors, Growlers, Bonnets, Syphons

Class 43: Trams, Flying Bananas, Fag Packets, Barbies, Disco Barbie's

Class 47: Duffs, Spoons, Brush,

Class 50: Hoovers, Vacs, Logs,

Class 56: Grids,

Class 57: Mutant Spoon, GM Brush, Purple Ronnie, Ronnie, Bodysnatcher

Class 60: Tugs, Doughnuts

Class 67: Skips, Neds, Yang Yangs.

Class 66 (EWS): Sheds,  Ying Yings.

Class 66 (Freightliner): Freds!

Class 66 (DRS): Readybreaks, Dreds

Class 66 (GBRF): Bluebirds, GB's

Class 70: Fuglies, Bulldogs, Super Bones

Class 142: Donkeys

Class 143: Burger Vans, Bendy Bus, Nodding Donkey

Class 150: Buckets

Class 153: Scuds, Skateboards

Class 158: (Ginsters Livery, Flying Pasty, Pasty Express), Coffins, Brucies

Class 220 'Voyager': Voyagras, Biffa Bins, Shops, Plastics, Vomit Comets

Class 221 'Super Voyager': Super Markets + All of the 220 Terms!