Railroading Glossary
The following glossary is arranged alphabetically with each term catalogued by first letter. Select a letter below to begin.
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
Cargo or freight.
Less-than-carload freight traffic.
Lead (pronounced "leed")
An extended track connecting a group of tracks with a main track.
The handing over of the property of a railroad in return for a specified yearly payment. The railroad property must be returned in as good condition as when it was handed over. The most prevalent form of lease calls for the guarantee of the interest and principal of outstanding bonds of the lessor and a guaranteed percentage on the stock. The lessor company continues to exist and to retain ownership of its railroad property.
Lease turnback
Many locomotives are obtained by railroads through lease agreements with financial institutions or leasing companies. When these expire, usually after 15 or 20 years, the railroad may buy the unit, renew the lease, or return it to the lessor-this last is called a turnback. Massive lease turnbacks became a feature of locomotive fleet management in the 1980's.
Liberated exhaust
On nonturbocharged EMD locomotives, retrofitted exhaust stacks in excess of the two as built-usually four.
Removed, as track material on an abandoned railroad.
Light engines
Locomotives operating without a train
Light rail
A type of rail transit system characterized by vehicles that require an operator and are powered by overhead electric catenary or trolley wires; often some portion of the route runs in the streets of cities or towns (as opposed to a heavy rail system where vehicles operate on a private right of way). The modern equivalent of a trolley or interurban.
Light-engine movements
One or more locomotives running from place to place without any cars.
Lightweight cars
Passenger cars built after the mid-1930's with streamlined exteriors and less overall weight than earlier equipment known as heavyweight cars.
Low-grade coal.
Line-haul railroad
A railroad that performs point-to-point service, as distinguished from a switching or terminal railroad. For line-haul railroads, interline revenue is usually some portion of the through rate.
Live steam
Model or miniature trains powered by real, working steam engines rather than electric ones in steam disguise.
Load limit
The maximum load that may be moved over a line. It depends on the construction and condition of track and bridges as well as other factors.
Loading gauge
The limiting dimensions of height and width for cars, in order that they may safely clear all lineside structures as well as equipment on adjacent tracks.
Light rail vehicle.
See flange oiler.
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