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SCLS Live Steam Railroading Glossary

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Beginning With: "H"
HACK Caboose
HALF Period of two weeks
HAM Poor telegrapher or student
HAND BOMBER or HAND GRENADE Engine without automatic stoker, which is hand-fired
HAND-ON Train order or company mail caught with the hoop or without stopping
HANGING UP THE CLOCK Boomer term that meant hocking your railroad watch
HARNESS Passenger trainman's uniform
HASH HOUSE Railroad restaurant or lunch stand
HAT Ineffectual railroad man. (All he uses his head for is a hat rack)
HAY Sleep on the job; any kind of sleep. Caboose was sometimes called hay wagon
HAY BURNER Hand oil lantern, inspection torch. Also a horse used in railroad or streetcar service
HEAD IN Take a sidetrack when meeting an opposing train
HEAD MAN Front brakeman on a freight train who rides the engine cab. Also called head pin
HEAD-END REVENUE Money which railroads receive for hauling mail, express, baggage, newspapers, and milk in cans, usually transported in cars nearest the locomotive, these commodities or shipments being known as head-end traffic
HEARSE Caboose
HEEL Cars on end of tracks with brakes applied
HERDER Man who couples engines and takes them off upon arrival and departure of trains
HIGH IRON Main line or high-speed track (which is laid with heavier rail than that used on unimportant branches or spurs)
HIGH LINER Main-line fast passenger train
HIGH-DADDY Flying switch
HIGH-WHEELER Passenger engine or fast passenger train. Also highball artist
HIGHBALL Signal made by waving hand or lamp in a high, wide semicircle, meaning "Come ahead" or "Leave town" or "Pick up full speed." Verb highball or phrase 'ball the jack means to make a fast run. Word highball originated from old-time ball signal on post, raised aloft by pulley when track was clear. A very few of these are still in service, in New England and elsewhere
HIGHBALL ARTIST A locomotive engineer known for fast running
HIKER A lineman who "hikes sticks" instead of prosaically climbing poles
HIT 'ER Work an engine harder. (Probably a variation of "hit the ball," which means "Get busy-no more fooling!")
HIT THE GRIT or GRAVEL Fall off a car or locomotive or get kicked off
HOBO Tramp. Term is said to have originated on Burlington Route as a corruption of "Hello, boy!" which construction workers used in greeting one another
HOG Any large locomotive, usually freight. An engineer may be called a hogger, hoghead, hogmaster, hoggineer, hog jockey, hog eye, grunt, pig-mauler, etc. Some few engineers object to such designations as disrespectful, which they rarely are. For meaning of hog law see dogcatchers. Hoghead is said to have originated on the Denver & Rio Grande in 1887, being used to label a brakeman's caricature of an engineer
HOLDING HER AGAINST THE BRASS Running electric car at full speed
HOLE Passing track where one train pulls in to meet another
HOME GUARD Employee who stays with one railroad, as contrasted with boomer. A homesteader is a boomer who gets married and settles down
HOOK Wrecking crane or auxiliary
HOOK 'ER UP AND PULL HER TAIL To set the reverse lever up on the quadrant and pull the throttle well out for high speed
HOPPER Steel-sided car with a bottom that opens to allow unloading of coal, gravel, etc.
HORSE 'ER OVER Reverse the engine. This is done by compressed air on modern locomotives, but in early days, manually operated reversing equipment required considerable jockeying to reverse an engine while in motion
HOSE COUPLER Brakeman who handles trains by himself with the road engine around a big passenger terminal
HOSTLER Any employee (usually a fireman) who services engines, especially at division points and terminals. Also called ashpit engineer
HOT Having plenty of steam pressure (applied to locomotives)
HOT JEWEL Same as hotbox
HOT WORKER Boilermaker who repairs leaks in the firebox or flue sheet while there is pressure in the boiler
HOT-FOOTER Engineer or conductor in switching service who is always in a hurry
HOT-WATER BOTTLE Elesco feed water heater
HOTBOX Overheated journal or bearing. Also called hub. This was a frequent cause of delay in the old days but is virtually nonexistent on trains that are completely equipped with ball-bearings. Trainmen are sometimes called hotbox detectors
HOTSHOT Fast train; frequently a freight made up of merchandise and perishables. Often called a manifest or redball run
HOW MANY EMS HAVE YOU GOT? How many thousand pounds of tonnage is your engine pulling? (M stands for 1,000)
HUMP Artificial knoll at end of classification yard over which cars are pushed so that they can roll on their own momentum to separate tracks. (See drop.) Also the summit of a hill division or the top of a prominent grade. Boomers generally referred to the Continental Divide as the Hump
HUMPBACK JOB Local freight run. (Conductor spends much time in caboose bending over his wheel reports)
HUT Brakeman's shelter just back of the coal bunkers on the tender tank of engines operating through Moffat Tunnel. May also refer to caboose, locomotive cab, switchman's shanty, or crossing watchman's shelter
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