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Pet hate idioms used by railway enthusiasts


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51 minutes ago, MidlandRed said:

I’m sure I read somewhere that it (gricer) was terminology imported from the USA (one of the railway mags) …

 

46 minutes ago, Artless Bodger said:

My feeling was it came from the US, but had no evidence to support it. 


In nearly 40 years of living in Canada and reading North American railway (or railroad) publications, I do not recall having seen or heard the term ‘gricer’ being used for a railway enthusiast. ‘Foamer’ - yes. 
 

I do remember a picture in ‘CTC Board’ of the word ‘foamite’ chalked on a wall by a couple of enthusiasts with a lot of time to pass while waiting for trains. They explained it as ‘Far Out Advanced Mentally Incompetent Train Enthusiast’.

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1 hour ago, AndyID said:

 

Pedantically speaking, would the South side station not have been Bridge Street? Wasn't there a euphemism ......... 

 

Yes, there was - for people from Paisley. Paisley itself was the euphemism for people from further afield.

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15 hours ago, St Enodoc said:

The sequence in reverse is, of course:

 

Green = Go

Amber = Go faster

Red = Stop

 

2 hours ago, Artless Bodger said:

Agreed, certainly the case with Black Damm roundabout in Basingstoke in the morning peak, red meant 'Stop - unless you think you're hard enough' for some drivers.


I was once on a course in Atlanta with people from all over North America. We were amazed/appalled at the attitude of drivers there to red traffic signals. We eventually decided that a red signal in Atlanta meant “Only three more vehicles can cross the intersection”. The only good thing about it was that everyone seemed to understand that and act accordingly.

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From what I recall at the time when steam on British Railways was being phased out in 1968, many die--hard steam enthusiasts felt their world was coming to an end.  Steam locomotive numbers would now remained 'unspotted', and they would never to be underlined in red biro pen.  Some enthusiasts even binned their Ian Allen locospotter books in disgust, and gave up the hobby and interest completely.


Diesel traction had taken over, and those who could not cope with the change were known as GRICERS in the hope that steam might continue.   History has since proven that steam made a full recovery.


GRICE?  Was an acronym for Good Riddance to the Internal Combustion Engine.  A Gricer was therefore someone who wanted to see an end to the introduction of diesel traction.  [Alisdair]
 

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27 minutes ago, ardbealach said:


From what I recall at the time when steam on British Railways was being phased out in 1968, many die--hard steam enthusiasts felt their world was coming to an end.  Steam locomotive numbers would now remained 'unspotted', and they would never to be underlined in red biro pen.  Some enthusiasts even binned their Ian Allen locospotter books in disgust, and gave up the hobby and interest completely.


Diesel traction had taken over, and those who could not cope with the change were known as GRICERS in the hope that steam might continue.   History has since proven that steam made a full recovery.


GRICE?  Was an acronym for Good Riddance to the Internal Combustion Engine.  A Gricer was therefore someone who wanted to see an end to the introduction of diesel traction.  [Alisdair]
 

 

However I have heard it applied to diesel diehards far more than I have to steam enthusiasts so that doesn't hold water I'm afraid.

 

As in D.A.A. + D.E.G.  The Electro Diesel Grice

 

http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/70s/790120da.htm

Edited by Steamport Southport
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10 hours ago, ejstubbs said:

 

Panda crossings had two amber phases: the one before the red light "pulsated", and there was a flashing amber phase after the red light similar to what pelican crossings have.  They were devised as an alternative to zebra crossings for busy roads, partly because it was felt that allowing pedestrians to cross whenever they liked would "delay traffic" - heaven forfend.  The idea that drivers would be able to distinguish between "pulsating" and flashing, and thus know whether they should be prepared to stop, or could proceed with caution, was homicidally idiotic - especially when the system was effectively designed to encourage free flow of traffic, and thus implicitly suggest that the default situation should be that drivers should be expected to proceed rather than stop.  Over forty of these things were trialled around the UK over a five year period before the number of pedestrian casualties persuaded the MoT to come up with something better.

 

The pelican crossing was actually preceded by a thing called an "x-way" crossing, which was basically a pelican crossing but instead of a green light it had an illuminated white cross.  "X-ways" were rapidly rolled out as a direct replacement for the existing disastrous panda crossings, and it was quickly realised that the white cross was just silly - being basically a way to try to pretend that it wasn't actually a set of traffic lights - and the pelican crossing as we know it became the standard within a couple of years and began to be rolled out across the UK.

 

The first episode of the sixth series of Endeavour, set in in 1969, begins with Chief Superintendent Bright (portrayed by the rather wonderful Anton Lesser), having been moved from CID to Traffic, appearing in a public information film about pelican crossings - complete with actual pelican, much to the amusement of his colleagues.  This sequence even includes the explanation for the name, which was originally pelicon, from Pedestrian Light Controlled crossing.  That quickly became pelican, for simplicity, which then spawned the other avian-themed names such as the toucan crossing (which is designed to allow bicycles as well as pedestrians to cross - from "two can") and the puffin crossing, which is the type that has the pedestrian lights built in to the same box as the button that you press to cross, and which doesn't have the flashing amber phase for traffic on the carriageway (they use a sensor to detect when the crossing is clear before allowing traffic on the carriageway to proceed).  The puffin has replaced the pelican as the standard type for the majority of new light-controlled crossings these days.

 

More info on Panda Crossings here

 

https://www.roads.org.uk/articles/pedestrian-crossings/hairbrained-and-most-dangerous

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44 minutes ago, phil-b259 said:

Interesting article - I got the year wrong - appears to have been 1962. The one thing I clearly remember was the disappointment that the black and orange striped globe on the top of the posts, unlike those at zebra crossings, did not flash on and off - I don’t even recall them being illuminated (and they certainly did not appear to be in the day time). The version in the publicity leaflet looks totally different (and seems to be shown as highly conspicuous - it was not! So the Panda crossing was introduced in Marples’ time! The article on the M5 Strensham loop is also interesting (and another memorable location! )

Edited by MidlandRed
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Yes, of course. Modern is anything post 1950 isn't it?

And when did Post Modern end?

Actually I thought the world ended in 1923 except in South and Mid Wales and the West of England of course.

I have never tried to get to grips with the slang names for the various diesel locomotive types. A few I can just about understand. But they just annoy me as I then have to dig around to see what it being written about. I am still trying to sort out the various early DMU classes. I am amazed at those who can look at a photo and say "the centre car is not a class XXX, it is a class YYY. I can tell from the half inch wider windows."

Jonathan

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4 hours ago, Clive Mortimore said:

Modern Image to describe a diesel and/or electric model railway.

I agree Clive, it's become a very sloppy term. I think it originally referred specifically to "British Railways' Modern Image" designs which ISTR they used in their promotional material in the mid 1960s and which was picked up by Cyril Freezer in RM starting with the 1964 edition referred to by Steamport Southport and pushed uite hard for several months afterwards. As well as rolling stock liveries and the introducton of the doulbe arrow, It included signage and some (IMHO) very underwhelming station designs.  That would be fine as a description and as specific as the "Streamline Moderne" design period that emerged from Art Deco in the 1930s (see ITV's Poirot series for umpteen examples of that including my local Tesco) However, it too often seems to just mean "after steam" and includes everything from right now back to a period that's as "modern" now as as the grouping  was at the end of steam.

Edited by Pacific231G
(correction -BR was still British Railways in 1964)
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1 hour ago, Steamport Southport said:

 

However I have heard it applied to diesel diehards far more than I have to steam enthusiasts so that doesn't hold water I'm afraid.

 

As in D.A.A. + D.E.G.  The Electro Diesel Grice

 

http://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk/70s/790120da.htm

DAA was the sneering railwayman's term for enthusiasts. Daft As A**eholes. 

 

As I have posted before, when the Central Division advertised the DAA 4-Griddle Tour for Feb 1971, the editor of the Railway Magazine rang up to enquire what DAA stood for. He knew perfectly well, of course, but the Special Traffic guys were a bit thrown, so came up with Diesel Abatement Association as unlikely to offend. 

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32 minutes ago, Pacific231G said:

...... Modern Image"... too often seems to just mean "after steam" and includes everything from right now back to a period that's as "modern" now as as the grouping  was at the end of steam.

..... or, often as not, ANYTHING that isn't steam including, for instance, the first generation of L.S.W.R and L.B.S.C.R. electrics that disappeared long before Evening Star was born.

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16 minutes ago, brianusa said:

Anorak names like 'gronk' or 'hoover' to label diesel locomotives:wacko:

    Brian.

And Crabs, Mickey Mouse Tanks etc. for steam locos??

 

Andi

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4 hours ago, MidlandRed said:

I blame Rail Enthusiast magazine which seemed to embrace wholeheartedly nicknames I’d never heard of before -

Yes!! I really liked the early Rail Enthusiast mag - I still have some articles from it filed away, BUT the nicknames for locos were ones I'd often not heard of. To me & my mates 37s were Syphons, not Tractors. 47s were Duffs, not Spoons, and HSTs were Zings, not..... not whatever HSTs are called these days!! :dontknow:

Zing I must admit does seem a rare one. It came from the noise they made as they passed you at speed. ;)

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57 minutes ago, F-UnitMad said:

Yes!! I really liked the early Rail Enthusiast mag - I still have some articles from it filed away, BUT the nicknames for locos were ones I'd often not heard of. To me & my mates 37s were Syphons, not Tractors. 47s were Duffs, not Spoons, and HSTs were Zings, not..... not whatever HSTs are called these days!! :dontknow:

Zing I must admit does seem a rare one. It came from the noise they made as they passed you at speed. ;)

Where did the name Syphon come from, for class 37's? Tractors and Growlers I get, those names do sort of describe the sound, but Syphon? :blink:

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33 minutes ago, rodent279 said:

Where did the name Syphon come from, for class 37's? Tractors and Growlers I get, those names do sort of describe the sound, but Syphon? :blink:

Perhaps the number of grills on the sides put people in mind of the Siphon G vans?

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2 hours ago, Wickham Green too said:

..... or, often as not, ANYTHING that isn't steam including, for instance, the first generation of L.S.W.R and L.B.S.C.R. electrics that disappeared long before Evening Star was born.

Early electrics can have a charm of their own but I don't think this beast from the 1930s could ever be accused of a modern image, not even by 1930s ideas of modernism. 

2D2_5525.jpg.c1621b9cc6b55a9a5b0be5ce37268b3e.jpg

 

Edited by Pacific231G
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1 hour ago, rodent279 said:

Where did the name Syphon come from, for class 37's? Tractors and Growlers I get, those names do sort of describe the sound, but Syphon? :blink:

 

1 hour ago, Fat Controller said:

Perhaps the number of grills on the sides put people in mind of the Siphon G vans?

I asked that question myself on here a few years ago. Seems Mr F C above is as close as anyone.

 

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15 hours ago, APOLLO said:

Ah Gricers !!!

 

The word Foamer is used over in the USA and is considered a bit insulting

 

This from the youtube virtual railfan train cam site rules

 

• Don't use the terms "foamer" or "foaming" in your comments or your username. Many railfans find them derogatory and offensive.

 

 

I think the term Railfans is far nicer, simple, and self explanatory on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

Brit15

Gunzels in these parts. Etymology uncertain.

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Stuffed and Mounted.
Stuffing is the process of removing and discarding all the internal workings and replacing them with an inert material, leaving just the skin.
Mounting is the process of fixing something permanently to a display.
 A stuffed and mounted locomotive would have all its internals removed, including the boiler leaving just the cladding, and be filled with some kind of inert material or maybe a frame. It would no no longer be capable of being moved on its own wheels and there would be no conceivable way of running it again.

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I have no problem at all with people using nicknames for different types or classes of loco, simply because that is all they really are - just nicknames, whether they are are affectionate or derogatory. Some enthusiasts use them, some don't, some railway staff use them, but I'll wager that most don't. Some (a lot in my experience) railway staff are enthusiasts too but often try to keep it quiet!

 

Some mentioned earlier that the term 'Brush' wasn't used by railway staff to describe the 47s but I have heard it used occasionally by Bescot and Saltley men, even though they usually refer to them as 'four and a halfs'.

 

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Oldddudders said:

This rings a bell about an article in 1968 or 69, probably in Railway World, entitled 'The Demise of the Gricer', which certainly quoted startled grouse in number rising. 

 

This web site has a discussion about the origins of the term "gricer".  The consensus seems to be that it is to do with grouse, but not in the sense of the trainspotters/railway enthusiasts being like grouse themselves, rather that their interest in 'bagging' locomotives was analogous to huntin', shootin' and fishin' types 'bagging' quantities of the bird in question.  One suggestion is that it originated as long ago as pre-WWII within the membership of the Manchester Locomotive Society, although a later citation dates it to the 1950s.

 

The discussion includes a reference to page 279 in the June 1970 edition of Railway World, and also one to the December 1969 edition of the same journal.  Some or all of the latter article can be read here.  Note that there is no mention of grouse in that fragment - perhaps you had the 1970 article in mind?

 

There also seems to have been some discussion of the origins of the word in the correspondence section of The Railway Magazine around the mid-70s.  Unfortunately, little of it appears to be available online.

 

Given the apparent confusion about the precise meaning and origins of the word, I feel less embarrassed than I once did about having to ask the editor of The Wyvern what it meant when it appeared up in his newsletter in the 1970s with such frequency that I at first assumed that it was a common term in general usage of which I had previously been shamefully ignorant.

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