Glossary of Terms

Home Page  

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z

Acrobat:
Adobe have produced a portable document viewer which we use to store our assembly instructions. It keeps the document size, hence download time, to a minimum and allows complete control of the appearance of the document. All our downloadble documents are produced using Acrobat Version 3.01, which are viewable in any version of the Acrobat reader from 3.01.
If you do not have a copy of this product it can be downloaded direct from Adobe, click on the 'Get Acrobat Reader' below, Note this may involve a long download of between 0.5Mb and 8Mb depending on the version you select. It is also available on many software disks, magazines and numerous other sources.
Get Acrobat
Araldite:
A trade name for CIBA Geigy's two pack epoxy adhesive. Sold as a Normal (blue pack) or Rapid (red pack). Any two pack epoxy glues will do in its place. Depending on your preference you can use a rapid cure or a conventional cure. The rapid set adhesives can be a great boon the the modeller, however care should be taken as it does set rapidly, a matter of minuets depending on temperature, and undoing mistakes is difficult.
 
Bell Code:
Telegraph code used to offer trans from signal box to signal box..
Bolster:
a transverse baulk of timber or steel to support long loads, such as timber, rail or metal products. Usually found on single, twin or more recently bogie wagons. Bolsters could be either fixed or swivelling. See Caledonian Dgm 109, North Eastern Dgms D1, D2 & D4 for examples.
Brass:
an alloy of copper and zinc, typically 60% copper 40% zinc. However other elements such as aluminium, iron, manganese, nickel, tin,and lead are frequently added.

Covered goods wagon:
The railway term for the 'humble' van.
Clasp Brake:
Brake System with two shoes acting on a single wheel. Usually seen on fitted stock as exemplified on the Diagram K1 fitted cattle wagon.
Curb Rail:
More correctly called the side rail (See below).
DEMU:
Diesel and Electric Modellers United, not a football team but the society for all interested in the contemporary British scene. See here for more information.
Diagram book:
Book issued by railway companies detailing basic dimensions, tares and carrying capacity of vehicles. Generally used by the traffic departments and others for selection and loading of stock. Diagram books were produced for all manner of items including wagons, special wagons, carriages, road vehicles etc. The standard of the information supplied in a diagram book varies from a basic outline sketch to a detailed drawing depending on the company. Individual vehicles are identified by the page number eg LYR low sided goods wagon to Diagram 2 is a Low sided goods wagon on page 2 of the LYR wagon diagram book. Such books were up dated at frequent intervals by additional pages to stick in and by other alterations in ink or pencil. At less frequent intervals books were replaced. An important item for the railway historian but also for the modeller. A more recent type of diagram book is the BR weight diagram.
Etched Brass:
Etching is a means of reproducing fine detail in sheet metal materials such as brass It is a photo-electrical process by which surplus material (brass) is removed from a sheet by selective corrosive attack of the parent material. The components will need removing from the sheet using snips or fine scissors and folding or forming to make various shapes. Usually the fold lines are soldered and the part soldered into place. Etched Brass Kits are often used for carriages, locomotives and where the prototype was made of thin sheet materials (eg modern image vehicles). It is also used where the size of the finished kit would prohibit the use of white metal. A typical example of a model is given below:

North Staffordshire brake

EWS:
English and Scottish Railway, The. The UKs principal freight operator. .
Finescale:
Term used to describe models built close to the correct size. Can apply to any scale and gauge.
Fitted wagon:
One fitted with a continuous brake, that is a brake which was applied to every vehicle in the train and controlled by the engine driver. Could be either the automatic vacuum or theWestinghouse air brake. The latter was superior and is now becoming standard on Railtrack.
Flash:
The name for surplus material which can occur on moulded parts in line with the mould parting line. It may be found on either white metal, plastic or resin components and can be removed using a fine scalpel blade.
Flitch:
An iron or steel plate on the exterior surface of the solebar. Commonly used in the pre Great War period.
Freightliner:
Second largest freight operator in UK after EWS.
GA, General arrangement drawing:
The drawing showing side, end and plan elevations. This was not a drawing from which a vehicle was made but one from which general information could be obtained. At least in the early days prepared after the manufacture of the vehicles.
GNoSR:
The Great North of Scotland Railway, based in Aberdeen engineering workshops were at Inveruie, Aberdeenshire.
G&SWR:
The Glasgow and South Western Railway.
Grease:
Lubricant used in wagon axle boxes until the widespread use of oil. The relatively poor lubricating properties of grease limited wagon running speed and load. There were two principal types of grease axle box the Ellis and the Attock's pattern. Both came in a number of different designs with round or square bases and in the case of the Attock's type a 'solid' or a moving plate type giving easy access to the journals. Grease axle boxes were not really surpassed by the oil box until the discovery of the ink well principal which allowed for the tipping of wagons.
GLW:
refers to 'Gross Laden Weight', which is the maximum weight of the wagon loaded.
Grouping:
Government inspired reorganisation of the British railway network after the Great War into four groups each with a separate geographical area. The companies were the Great Western Railway, London Midland & Scottish, London & North Eastern Railway and the Southern Railway often referred to as the Big Four.
Headstock:
The railway term for the buffer beam.
Hopper wagon:
A wagon which is completely unloaded by gravity. A method pioneered by the NER and its constituent companies.
Horse hooks:
Attachment points on the solebar allowing the horse powered shunting of vehicles. The use of shunting horses continued until after the Second World War.
Icons:
Icons / Images found on this site
Indicates this is an etched brass kit, which may contain additional white metal parts. Generally these kits will require a mix of assembly techniques using soldering and adhesives.
Indicates this is a resin kit, which will contain additional white metal and possibily etched brass parts. Generally these kits will require a mix of assembly techniques using adhesives and solder.
Indicates this is a white metal kit or component, which will require soldering or adhesives for assembly.
Indicates this item was recently introduced, or added to the range.
Indicates this item is suitable for N Gauge (2mm:1ft - 1:144)
Indicates this item is suitable for all 4mm:1ft (1:76) gauges (including OO, EM,P4, S4 /18.83mm)).
Indicates this item is suitable for S Scale (3/16":1 ft).
Indicates this item is suitable for O gauge (7mm:1ft - 1:43).
Indicates that a higher resolution version of this image is available if the image is clicked / selected. Note: most, but not all, of the photographs on this site have a higher resolution image available. It is available 'on request' to keep page download time down to a minimum unless you expressly request a bigger picture. Some pictures may exceed 1mb in size.

Instanter Couplings:
A special three link coupling where the centre link can be placed in two positions to change the effective length of the coupling. Common on the Great Western and modern image air brake freight stock.
LYR:
The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway based at Hunts Bank Manchester with engineering facilities at Horwich and Newton Heath. Amalgamated with the LNWR in 1922. CMEs included J A F Aspinall, G Hughes and Barton Wright. Heavy weight of the British Victorian and Edwardian railway scene.
LMS:
London Midland and Scottish Railway, formed in 1923, from the LNW, Midland, Caledonian, Furness, Glasgow & South Western, North Staffordshire and others.
LNER:
London and North Eastern Railway - formed in 1923 from the North Eastern, North British, Great North of Scotland, Great Eastern Railways and others.
LNWR:
London and North Western Railway amalgamated with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1922 to form a group of the same name. In 1923 at Grouping. Became part of the LMS.
Lowmac:
Low machine wagon.
Loose coupled:
Train which does not have an automatic brake and is dependent solely on the locomotive brake and strength of the guard in the brake van to stop the train. Freight trains without an automatic brake continued to run on BR until 1983.

Mineral wagon:
Mineral traffic includes coal, coke, limestone, and similar bulky traffics. Coal has historically outweighed other minerals in tonnage carried and mineral traffic has tended to be thought of as coal traffic. Mineral traffic was the preserve of the Private Owner wagon.
Morton Brakes:
A type of brake which can be activated from both sides of the wagon, there are two main types:-
Cam: using a clutch.
Duplex: where the levers pointing to the same end as used on the North Eastern Railway for example.
MSJS:
'Midland Scotch Joint Stock'. The stock allocated for anglo Scottish services operated jointly by the Midland, Glasgow & South Western and North British Railways. Set up in 1879 and operated until 1899 when separate M & GSW (Midland and Glasgow & South Western), and M & NB (Midland and North British) joints stock was formed.

NBR:
The North British Railway. Engineering works was at Cowlairs. Became part of the LNER at Grouping.
NER:
The North Eastern Railway, based in York. Became part of the LNER at grouping.
Nickel:
Silver-white metallic element, chemical symbol Ni.
Nickel silver:
Copper alloy, nominal composition 18-25% Zn, 8-12% Ni remainder copper.
Nickel steel:
Steel alloy containing nickel as a principal alloying element.

NSR:
The North Staffordshire Railway based at Stoke, became part of the LMS at Grouping.
Open wagon:
One without a roof(!), where the load had to be protected from the elements, if required, by a tarpaulin. Such wagons came in a range of heights from 1 to 8 planks but are more correctly called low, medium or high sided wagons. Every company had it's own ideas of what was a low, medium or high sided goods wagon. Until recent years such wagons were the mainstay of the British scene comprising a far higher proportion of the wagon fleet than covered goods vans for example. This is no longer so as the specialised proportion of the fleet increases.
Plasticard:
A trade name, for a range of thin polystyrene sheet, which is ideally suited for modelling. Plasticard is manufactured by Slaters Ltd and supplied is in a range of thickness ( 0.005" to 0.060"). Similar products are available from several suppliers.
Pre-group:
In the United Kingdom this is the period up to the 'Grouping' of the railway companies in 1923 to form 'the Big Four' the GWR, LNER, LMS and Great Western Railway.
Private owner:
A wagon or ( more rarely) a van not owned by the railway company. There were also a limited number of private owner brake vans but these tended to stay in their owner's industrial sites. Typical examples were the colliery mineral wagons prior to nationalisation in 1948. In more recent years private owner wagons have made a come back and numerous examples now run on Network Rail.
RCH:
The Railway Clearing House. The organisation used to arrange payment between companies, and to handle common interests.
Resin:
Two part Eepoxy resin used for large components such as carriage roofs, boilors and wagon bodies where the use of white metal would be too heavy.
R-T-R:
"Ready to Run" completed models, usually injection moulded plastic which are ready to run straight out of the box. These are often a good source of modern image rolling stock, as well as an economical source of common rolling stock. Require weathering powders and in many instances modifcations.

S Scale:
Modelling to a scale of 3/16":1 foot. This scale is supported by the S Scale Model Railway Society.
Scalefour Society The:
The Society which promotes modelling to 4mm standards..
Sheet Brass:
Often used by scratch builders, is available from a wide range of engineering suppliers in various thicknesses. Often purchased as shim brass by the roll.
Sheeting:
The sides of a wagon formed from either timber or metal.
Side Rail:
a longitudinal strip running above the solebar which supports the sheeting (See above).
Solebar:
Outside, longitudinal frame members. Usually these would be visible and have the makers or owners plates attached.
Solder:
A material used to join two pieces of metal which has a lower melting point that either of the two parent materials. Comes in a wide range of materials but commonly a tin/lead alloy. There are three basic grades of solder used by modellers these are, 188, 144 and low melt solder.
"Strengthening":
The addition of a carriage to a train, usually on an ad-hoc basis, for a specific service!
Steel:
An alloy of iron and carbon often with other elements as well. Difficult to solder without correct flux.
Superglue:
The generic name, and also a trade name, for isocyanate glues which cure very rapidly, in some cases in less than 1 minute.
Should be stored in a refrigerator firmly closed to prolong life. Frequently used to assemble resin based kits.

Tumbleholme:
Where the sides and sometimes the ends curve inwards from the waist to the floor.
Unfitted:
A wagon with hand brakes only, that is no automatic vacuum or air brake.
Universal:
When used in the context of 4mm OO, refers to the wheel profile. Universal wheels are suitable for Peco code 100 rail and SMP track and other proprietary RTR makes.
 
Weathering powders:
A means or selectively 'dirtying' the model to make it seem as if the model has seen years of active service!
White metal:
A tin alloy containing varying amounts of lead, copper, antimony and other elements which have a 'low melting' temperature, ideal for low volume fine detail casting. Historically used for bearings and domestic items. White metal has an additional advantage in that 4mm vehicles do not usually require extra mass. It is not appropriate for large vehicles where mass exceeds 2 ounces (50grams). Often etched brass kits will incorporate some white metal parts where the fine detail in 3 dimensions is needed. Typical examples might include carriage gas and oil lamps for example. As white metal contains lead care should be taken to avoid ingesting as lead could in extreme cases cause problems for humans It will be appreciated that white metal is not a suitable material for the manufacture of children's toys.


Having problems finding what you want? Finding missing links?
Pictures not displaying correctly? Please, please, contact our techie and give him an earful

Copyright ©2000-2006, Model Signal Engineering, PO box 70 BARTON upon HUMBER. DN18 5XY.
All rights reserved Copyright / Legal Notices