Words and Phrases of Railroad Origin

  • All steamed up

  • Asleep at the Switch

  • Brownie Points

  • Derail

  • Doubleheader

  • Featherbedding

  • Fireman (Engineer trainee)

  • Getting Coupled

  • Hell of a way to run a railroad

  • Hell on Wheels

  • Highball

  • Hog Head (railroad engineer)

  • Huff and Puff

  • Jerkwater Town

  • Main-line

  • Make the Grade

  • On Track

  • One-track Mind

  • Railroaded

  • Real McCoy

  • Roll Boxcars (twelve in dice)

  • Roundhouse Punch

  • Run out of Steam

  • Sidetracked

  • Standard Time

  • Station Wagon

  • Tank Town

  • Timetable

  • Whistle-stop

  • Wrong Side of the Tracks

Le Roy Barnett retired in 2001 as an archivist with the State of Michigan Archives. Throughout his career, Dr. Barnett made note of railroad trivia as well as interesting railroad facts which he has shared with RRHX. We hope that you enjoy reading them. Many of these "sayings", slogans, film names will bring back memories for you. If you have other factual bits of trivia to add, there is a hot-link on each page for you to use.


The following sources are utilized in this website. [SOURCE-YEAR-MMDD-PG]:

  • [AAB| = All Aboard!, by Willis Dunbar, Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids ©1969.
  • [AAN] = Alpena Argus newspaper.
  • [AARQJ] = American Association of Railroads Quiz Jr. pamphlet. © 1956
  • [AATHA] = Ann Arbor Railroad Technical and Historical Association newsletter "The Double A"
  • [AB] = Information provided at Michigan History Conference from Andrew Bailey, Port Huron, MI

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Email: webmaster@michiganrailroads.com