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Noquay - Model Railway Inglenook Layout 4mm (OO)

Glossary of Railway & Model Railway Terms


  • CA (Cyanoacrylate Adhesive) - Super glue, a high-strength adhesive that can be used on wood, metal and styrene plastic.
  • Cab - The section of the locomotive in which the controls are located and where the engineer and fireman rides.
  • Cab Control - A means of operating and controlling one or more trains singly or simultaneously. Trains operating independent of one another.
  • Cab Forward - Articulated type steam engine, popular on Southern Pacific RR. Engines were reversed; cylinders toward the back, cab and smoke stack at front.
  • Cab Signals - Lights on a control panel in front of operator which indicate condition of track ahead of his train.
  • Caboose - A car, usually placed at the end of a freight train, in which the conductor has an office and living quarters. With increasing use of computer controls, cabooses are being replaced with ETD (End of Train Device)
  • Caboose Way Car - A caboose with a section for freight.
  • Cant - Amount by which one rail of a curved track is raised above the other. Cant is positive when the outer rail is higher than the inner rail and negative when the inner rail is higher than the outer.
  • Cap - A detonator put on the tracks for signaling purposes.
  • Car - An USA term for carriage or wagon.
  • Car Knocker - A car inspector, so-called from the men who tap the wheels to test for soundness.
  • Catch Points - Facing points provided at an exit from a siding or converging line to derail an unauthorised movement, thus protecting the adjacent running line. Also provided to derail vehicles running back on rising gradients. The points may only be un-worked if traffic is in one direction only. Subject to local variation and interchanged with Trap Points.
  • Catenary - Supporting cable for the conductor wire of an overhead electrification system.
  • Chassis - Framework or underbody of a locomotive, or cars.
  • Cinder Pit - See Ash Pit.
  • Circuit - The path of an electrical current.
  • Circuit Breaker - A switch or fuse that automatically opens the circuit in the event of a current overload.
  • Class - Groups into which trains are divided.
  • Classification Yard - A goods/freight yard where trains are broken up and made up by shifting wagons/cars with a switcher/shunter locomotive or by a hump.
  • Clear Board - A go-ahead signal.
  • Clear Signal - Fixed signal displaying a green, or proceed without restriction..
  • Clerestory - Roof typical of certain passenger vehicles featuring raised center sections and clerestory windows along the sides.
  • Co-Acting Signal - An additional signal that is provided in exceptional situations for sighting reasons. It is located in the same transverse plane as the primary signal and displays identical main aspects.
  • Coal Bunker - Storage bin directly behind cab or in the tender.
  • Coaling Station - A place where locomotives stop to take on a load of coal. The tender is positioned under the chute of coaling tower which supplies the coal by gravity feed.
  • Cog Railway - A railway that can climb steep grades by using a toothed cog wheel between the driving wheels of the locomotive that meshes with the teeth of a rack rail that is mounted to the cross ties between the other rails. Also called Rack Railway.
  • Command Control - A way of controlling trains independently of each other by sending electronic messages through the rails. Each locomotive has a decoder or receiver which only responds to its own discrete address.
  • Common Carrier - A railway or other carrier that carries any passengers or frieight and not just contract passengers or freight from one customer.
  • Compound Engine - A steam engine in which the exhausted steam is directed into a second set of cylinders.
  • Conductor - A crew member on a freight or passenger train in charge of the train at all stops or while the train is at terminals or stations.
  • Consist - The vehicles which make up a train; also a list of those vehicles. Locomotive consist is a group of engines put together to pull a train.
  • Corn Field Meet - Slang for head-on collision.
  • Colour Light Signal - A signal that conveys its information by coloured lights.
  • Coupler - The device used to connect and disconnect locomotives and vehicles.
  • Cowcatcher - An early term for the pointed device used on the front of the locomotive to remove deer, cows and buffalo off the track.
  • Crankpin - Pin or screw attached to driving wheels hold side rods in place yet permits them to turn.
  • Crew - The men and women who run a train.
  • Cribbing - A framework of wooden timbers, steel, or concrete that acts as a retaining wall for loose rock, or dirt.
  • Crossing - An intersection between two tracks on the same level.
  • Crossover - Two turnouts and a connecting track that allow a train to be diverted to a parallel track.
  • Culvert - A passage way under tracks for drainage of water.
  • Cupola - Small cabin atop a brake van.
  • Curve - Classified as: 1. Simple one radius throughout; 2. Compound two or more simpl e curves of similar radius; 3. Reverse A compound curve of opposite directions.
  • Cut - A number of vehicles, coupled together; or an excavated section through a hill allowing the tracks to remain level.