The Top Railroad Terms and Their Definitions: Intermediate Edition

Is your knowledge of railroad lingo better than average? Test yourself with these railroad definitions and find out...

Original | Rail Lingo Part 2 113018

Frequently used railroad terms defined and decoded.

How well do you know the language of the railroad?

We’ve defined and decoded some of the most commonly used railroad terms and organized them by degree of difficulty. Check out the intermediate level and see if your knowledge of railroad lingo is better than average.

Need to go back to basics? Start at the beginner level

Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

The Word Its “Official” Definition What That Really Means
Lading That which constitutes a load. The freight in or on a rail car, trailer or container. The stuff you’re shipping.
Manifest Train Train made up of mixed rail cars (boxcars, tank cars, piggy back cars, etc.). A train with all different types of rail cars carrying all different types of freight. It’s a freight party, and everyone is invited.
Mixed Carload A carload of different articles in a single consignment. When one rail car holds more than one product. Imagine a bag of mixed vegetables, but more organized.
Spotting The placing of cars where required for loading or unloading. Putting a rail car in a specific spot so it can take the next step in its journey — like dropping your kids at the bus stop.
Spur A track extending from and connected at only one end with another track. A track that goes to a specific facility. While it has nothing to do with the heel of a cowboy’s boot, an aerial view might suggest it juts out in a similar fashion.
Transload To physically transfer product from one transportation vehicle to another. It’s like moving your stuff from the trunk of your car into a moving van.


Ready for More?

Maybe your knowledge is above average. But is it expert level? Test your skills at the highest degree of difficulty or take an even a deeper dive into one of these glossaries. We're always ready to talk rail lingo, so feel free to get in touch with any questions! 

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