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A collection of terms, most of them listed by Wikipedia, usually derogatory and used to refer to railway-related subjects.
Term Explanation
On The Cushions Normally driver changes take place at scheduled stops at stations. However, where the service is non-stop over considerable distances the off-duty relief crew may already be aboard the train in the coaching stock or a support coach immediately behind the locomotive where they can rest "on the cushions" until the crew swap. For example, The Flying Scotsman (the train) was scheduled to travel non-stop from King's Cross to Edinburgh Waverley. If, for instance, it was hauled by Flying Scotsman (the steam loco) there would be a tender, or even two tenders to carry enough fuel, fitted with side corridors thus allowing the relief crew to walk from the rolling stock to the engine to take over control without disturbing the passage of the train. The relieved crew would then go "on the cushions" for the remainder of the passage to destination.
Flying Banana One High Speed Train set is in service with Network Rail, painted in departmental yellow, and often referred to as the "flying banana" (a nickname that was originally applied to the whole class because when first introduced by BR they wore a predominantly yellow livery). The set is the New Measurement Train. View Image on HoverBanana
Bed Pan A name used for the service that used to operate between Bedford and London St. Pancras; this service has subsequently been replaced by the cross-London service on the Thameslink route. It is sometimes used when referring to the line from Bedford to St Pancras, and not any service in particular. View Image on HoverBedpan
Bert and Ada Enthusiasts' term for elderly passengers.
Bible The enthusiasts' name for the British Rail all-line passenger timetable. An essential (and weighty) tool for the enthusiast who wanted to plan a series of moves to avoid festering on a station platform. Summer 2007 saw the last ever edition (the first was printed in 1974).
Blood and Custard Name applied to the Crimson and Cream livery used on BR's coaches during the 1950s and '60s. View Image on HoverCustard
Bodysnatcher British Rail Class 57 diesel-electric locomotives – made by transplanting a General Motors reconditioned power unit and alternator into a Class 47 bodyshell. View Image on HoverBodysnatcher
Bubble Car British Rail Class 121 single-car, double-ended diesel multiple units built for use on various lightly used branch lines. The Class 121 is Britain's longest serving DMU, having been in service for 55 years as of 2015. View Image on HoverBubble Car View Another Image on HoverBubble Car
Cans Class 86 electric locomotives. View Image on HoverCan
Cattle Passengers (particularly commuters, who often complain that they are treated "like cattle").
Donkey British Rail Class 142 'Pacer' 2-coach diesel multiple units (DMUs) built in Derby from 1985 to 1987 based on the Leyland National bus chassis and incorporating many other bus components. Their bus suspensions were rather soft for railway conditions so they had a tendency to rise and fall - hence their original slang description of 'Nodding Donkeys'.
View Image on HoverDonkey
Dyson British Rail Class 92 so called because of the sound their traction blowers make as they go past. View Image on HoverDyson
Egg Timer British Rail Class 58 diesel-electric locomotive. View Image on HoverEgg Timer
God's Wonderful Railway Great Western Region initials. (For its devotees)
Grass Weeds & Rubbish Great Western Region initials. (For its non-devotees!)
Hoover British Rail Class 50 diesel-electric locomotive – from the sound of the engine cooling fans being similar to a vacuum cleaner prior to the refurbishment which removed this characteristic; (a.k.a. Vacs). View Image on HoverHoover
Nodding Donkeys British Rail Class 142 'Pacer' 2-coach diesel multiple units (DMUs) built in Derby from 1985 to 1987 based on the Leyland National bus chassis and incorporating many other bus components. Their bus suspensions were rather soft for railway conditions so they had a tendency to rise and fall - hence this slang description of 'Nodding Donkeys'. See also Donkey above. View Image on HoverNodding Donkey
Peter can Class 86 electric locomotives were known as 'cans' and this is a variant of this slang specifically for 86259, which for a while was named 'Peter Pan'.
Plastics British Rail Class 442, "Wessex Electrics" (electric multiple units): so-named for being mostly made out of plastics in their construction. View Image on HoverPlastics
Roarer Early British Rail 25 kV AC electric locomotive of types 'AL1'–'AL5' (later Classes 81, 82, 83, 84, 85), due to the loud whine made by the traction motor cooling fans when the locomotive is at rest. The name originated with the AL3 type. Although the other types exhibit a less noticeable noise, the name is applied equally to any of them.. View Image on HoverRoarer
Shed A Canadian-built Class 66 diesel-electric locomotive (from the peaked roof shape and also the corrugated bodysides. View Image on HoverShed
Sid & Ethel Passengers, particularly commuters, who are not railway enthusiasts.
Spuds Applied to 37515 after it hit a lorry carrying potatoes near Gleneagles in January 2008. View Image on HoverSpuds
Streak Class A4 Pacific, a class of streamlined 4-6-2 steam locomotive designed by Sir Nigel Gresley in 1935. The shape makes them look like they are doing 100 m.p.h. even when at rest. View Image on HoverStreak
Stealth Bomber British Rail Class 91 - High speed, quiet and with dark blue GNER livery (also the associated passenger coaches that the 91s usually haul). View Image on HoverStealth Bomber
Teddy Bear British Rail Class 14 diesel-hydraulic locomotives for shunting and trip-working. Originally coined by Swindon Works' foreman George Cole who quipped "We've built the Great Bear, now we're going to build a Teddy Bear!". View Image on HoverTeddy Bear
Thumper Southern DEMU (BR Classes 201 – 207) – unlike conventional DMUs these used a single, comparatively large diesel engine and electric generator mounted immediately behind one driving cab. The power units made a distinctive "thumping" noise when working hard. View Image on HoverThumper
Thunderbird A diesel locomotive kept on standby at a strategic location, ready to rescue a failed train. View Image on HoverThunderbird
U-Boats Southern Railway U class 2-6-0 steam locomotives. View Image on HoverU-boat
Van British Rail Class 87 General name given to Class 87 AC electric locomotives built from 1973. View Image on HoverVan
Whistler British Rail Class 40 diesel-electric locomotive, so named from the turbocharger sound; this nickname is also occasionally applied to British Rail Class 20 locomotives. View Image on HoverWhistler
Woolworth South Eastern and Chatham Railway N class 2-6-0 steam locomotives, built at Woolwich Arsenal. View Image on HoverWoolworth
Zing An older term for British Rail InterCity 125 High Speed Trains of classes 253/254 . View Image on HoverZing