Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
positive train control (PTC): A highly sophisticated system using
global positioning technology that is designed to control train
movement. Mandated by the federal government in 2008, PTC
will not only improve rail safety, preventing collisions and derail-
ments, but it will also allow trains to run closer together and at
higher speeds. PTC requires special equipment in every locomo-
tive cab, as well as in multiple locations along every route. All
of the country's railroads are required to have PTC in place and
functioning by 2015.
quiet car: A single car on many of Amtrak's short-haul trains in
which cell phones and loud conversations are not permitted.
rail: Made of rolled steel, the traditional rails are 39 feet long
(which fit on 40-foot flatcars) but are being replaced today by
great quarter-mile-long rails laid by machinery. The cross section
of a rail can best be described as looking like an upside-down
capital T. All rails look pretty much the same, but larger and
heavier rails are used where high-speed or very heavy trains oper-
ate. Smaller, lightweight rails are used in rail yards and on sidings
where traffic is less frequent and slower.
rapid transit: Any rail system operating on an exclusive right-of-
way and used for moving people in and out of urban areas.
red eye: Railroad slang for a red (stop) signal.
refrigerator car: An insulated, closed car with cooling equipment
designed to keep its contents at a specific low temperature. Many
of these cars are also equipped with heaters to keep fresh produce
from freezing during winter weather. Refrigerator cars are called
“reefers” in railroad slang.
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