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SCLS Live Steam Railroading Glossary

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Beginning With: "D"
DANCING ON THE CARPET Called to an official's office for investigation or discipline
DEAD IRON and LIVE IRON The two sets of tracks on a scale
DEAD MAN'S HOLE Method of righting an overturned engine or car. A six-foot hole is dug about forty feet from the engine or car, long enough to hold a large solid-oak plank. A trench is then dug up to the engine and heavy ropes laid in it, with a four-sheave block, or pulley, at the lower end of the engine and a three-sheave block at the top of the boiler. Chains are fastened to the underside of the engine and hooked to the three-sheave block. The free end of the rope is then hooked to the drawbar of a road engine. The hole is filled-packed hard to hold the "dead man" down against the coming pull. When the engine moves up the track she pulls ropes over the top of the boiler of the overturned locomotive on the chains that are fastened to the lower part, rolling the engine over sidewise and onto her wheels again
DEAD MAN'S THROTTLE Throttle that requires pressure of operator's hand or foot to prevent power shut-off and application of brakes. An engine so equipped would stop instantly if the operator fell dead. Also called dead man's button
DEADBEAT is defined by Webster as "one who persistently fails to pay his debts or way." The word was coined in the late 1800's when railroad workers noticed that loaded freight cars made a different beat over the track-joints than cars that weren't carrying a load. The empty cars made a "dead beat" which meant they weren't paying their way. By the beginning of the 20th century "deadbeat" came to encompassed people who failed to carry their share of the load also.
DEADHEAD Employee riding on a pass; any nonpaying passenger. Also fireman's derisive term for head brakeman who rides engine cab. Also a locomotive being hauled "dead" on a train
DECK Front part of engine cab. Also catwalk on roofs of boxcars
DECKORATE Get out on top of freight cars to set hand brakes or receive or transmit signals. Derived from deck
DEHORNED Demoted or discharged
DETAINER or DELAYER Train dispatcher
DIAMOND Railroad crossover. Black diamonds is coal
DIE GAME Stall on a hill
DING-DONG Gas or gas-electric coach, usually used on small roads or branch lines not important enough to support regular trains; name derived from sound of its bell. Sometimes called doodlebug
DINGER Conductor (man who rings the bell)
DINKY Switch engine without tender, used around back shop and roundhouse, or any small locomotive. Alsoa four-wheel trolleycar
DIPLOMA Clearance or service letter; fake service letter
DIRTY CAR Storage car containing a varied assortment of mail and parcels that demand extra work in separating
DISHWASHERS Engine wipers at roundhouse
DITCH That part of the right-of-way that is lower than the roadbed. A derailed train is "in the ditch"
DOGCATCHERS Crew sent out to relieve another that has been outlawed-that is, overtaken on the road by the sixteen-hour law, which is variously known as dog law, hog law, and pure-food law
DOGHOUSE Caboose or its cupola
DONEGAN Old car, with wheels removed, used as residence or office. Originated about 1900, when a Jersey Central carpenter and two foremen, all named Donegan, occupied three shacks in the same vicinity. People were directed to the Donegans so often that the shacks themselves came to be known by that name. The name stuck, even after the men had passed on and the shacks had been replaced by converted old cars
DONKEY Derisive term for section man; small auxiliary engine
DOODLEBUG Rail motorcar used by section men, linemen, etc. Also called ding dong
DOPE Order, official instructions, explanation. Also a composition for cooling hot journals
DOPE IT Use compound in the water to keep it from boiling when working an engine hard
DOPE MONKEY Car inspector
DOUBLE In going up a hill, to cut the train in half and take each section up separately
DOUBLE-HEADER Train hauled by two engines
DOUSE THE GLIM Extinguish a lantern, especially by a sudden upward movement
DRAG Heavy train of "dead" freight; any slow freight train, as contrasted with manifest or hotshot
DRAWBAR FLAGGING Flagman leaning against the drawbar on the caboose, or standing near the caboose, to protect the rear end of his train, instead of going back "a sufficient distance" as rules require. Such a man is taking a chance, due maybe to laziness, exhaustion, severe cold, fear of the train leaving without him, etc.
DRIFTING THROTTLE Running with steam throttle cracked open to keep air and dust from being sucked into steam cylinders
DRILL CREW Yard crew. (See yard)
DRINK Water for locomotive
DRONE CAGE Private car
DROP Switching movement in which cars are cut off from an engine and allowed to coast to their places. (See hump)
DROP 'ER DOWN Pull reverse lever forward. Drop 'er in the corner means to make fast time, figuratively dropping the Johnson bar in one corner of the cab
DROPPER Switchman riding a car on a hump
DROWNING IT OUT Cooling an overheated journal
DRUMMER Yard conductor
DRUNKARD Late Saturday-night passenger train
DUCATS Passenger conductor's hat checks
DUDE Passenger conductor
DUDE WRANGLER Passenger brakeman
DUMMY Employees' train. Dummy locomotive is a switcher type having the boiler and running gear entirely housed, used occasionally for service in public streets
DUST-RAISER Fireman (shoveling coal into firebox)
DUSTING HER OUT Putting sand through the firedoor of an oil burner while working the engine hard; this cuts out the soot in the flues and makes the locomotive steam. Also known as giving the old girl a dose of salts
DUTCH CLOCK Speed recorder
DUTCH DROP Rarely used method of bringing a car onto the main line from a spur. The engine heads into the spur, couples head-on to the car, and backs out. When the car is moving fast enough the engine is cut off, speeds up to get back on the main line before the car, then moves forward ahead of the junction between the main line and the spur so the car rolls out behind the engine
DYNAMITER Car on which defective mechanism sends the brakes into full emergency when only a service application is made by the engineer. Also, a quick-action triple valve
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