List of acronyms & terms

Many people who read this A-Z will not in fact be that interested in railways, and other than a passing interest in certain aspects of the industry will have visited this website in the hope of finding out about railway movies, a subject that I am convinced is of interest to many more people than just myself. As a result, I felt it necessary to provide a list of terms and abbreviations for the reader, should they come across an acronym they are unfamiliar with. The nicknames or standard terms for locomotive classes will be ignored, as are wheel arrangements. These are outside the scope of this study and their origin can be gleaned from countless books and websites on the subjects. The acronyms will not be grouped in any particular order other than alphabetically. As well as railway terms, a small handful of movie terms are used and for completeness these are also listed. As a footnote, the word on board / onboard has caused me no end of grief. When I was at school it was always one word. The propensity nowadays is to spell it as two, though I have even seen it spelt with a hyphen (on-board) for some reason! I make no apologies for using the single word spelling. Please don’t correct me on this. And what is the difference between a movie and a film? The Americans use the term ‘movie’, which seems to be slang for motion i.e. ‘moving’ picture, whilst British people talk about watching films, from the photographic film on which the motion picture was produced. As I am English I will use the word film though as they are really one and the same, movie does crop up from time to time. The following abbreviated terms may need explaining:

  • Auto-Train – a type of push-pull train incorporating a steam locomotive and a specially fitted passenger coach with driving facilities
  • Back-projection – the projection of a picture on to the back of a translucent screen for use as a background in filming i.e. a rolling image through the windows of a carriage interior set
  • BFI – British Film Institute
  • BIL – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for Bi (i.e. two) Lavatories
  • ‘Blood and Custard’ – Passenger coaching stock livery introduced by BR in 1949. It consisted of carmine red and cream (lined in black and gold) but was colloquially referred to as ‘blood and custard’.
  • BMU – Battery Multiple Unit
  • BR – British Railways later British Rail (or plain old BR!)
  • BSO – Brake Standard Open. Technical designation for a BR second class open (i.e non-corridor) carriage with additional guard’s compartment
  • BTF – British Transport Films
  • Carmine and Cream – see ‘Blood and Custard’
  • CCT – Covered Carriage Truck. A type of four-wheeled railway van with end doors used initially for moving motor cars, later parcels traffic
  • CEP – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for Corridor Electro-Pneumatic braked
  • CGI – Computer-generated imagery. Computer-graphic effects in films. A very common production technique today.
  • CIÉ – Córas Iompair Éireann (Irish Transport System, operators of Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann))
  • CIG – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for Corridor Intermediate Guard
  • COR – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for Corridor stock
  • DART – Dublin Area Rapid Transit – Dublin’s electrified suburban network
  • ‘Day for night’ – a set of cinematic techniques used to simulate a night scene while filming in daylight. It was often employed when it was too difficult or expensive to actually shoot during the night but has become much less common in recent years.
  • DB – Deutsche Bahn (German Railways)
  • DEMU – Diesel Electric Multiple Unit
  • DLR – Docklands Light Railway
  • DM – Diesel Mechanical
  • DMS – Driving Motor Standard. Technical designation for a DMU vehicle
  • DMBS – Driving Motor Brake Standard. Technical designation for a DMU vehicle
  • DMSL – Driving Motor Standard Lavatory. Technical designation for a DMU vehicle
  • DMU – Diesel Multiple Unit
  • DTCL – Driving Trailer Composite Lavatory. Technical designation for a DMU vehicle
  • DVT – Driving Van Trailer (an un-powered driving vehicle used on the rear of locomotive-hauled trains)
  • ECML – East Coast Main Line
  • EMU – Electric Multiple Unit
  • EPB – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for Electro-Pneumatic Braked
  • EWS – English, Welsh & Scottish Railway
  • GER – Great Eastern Railway
  • GNER – Great North Eastern Railway
  • GNR – Great Northern Railway
  • GSR – Great Southern Railways (of Ireland)
  • GSW – Great Southern and Western Railway (of Irleand)
  • GUV – General Utility Van, a common type of rail vehicle generally used for the conveyance of mail and parcels
  • GW&GC Joint – Great Western and Great Central Joint (a line owned by both companies that ran from Northolt to Banbury)
  • GWML – Great Western Main Line
  • GWR – Great Western Railway
  • HAL – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for Half (i.e. one) Lavatory whereas a BIL had two
  • HAP – Southern Region EMU classification – an electro-pneumatic braked HAL
  • HS1 – High Speed One (legally the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, the 68 mile high-speed railway between London and the Channel Tunnel)
  • HST – High Speed Train (the InterCity 125’s)
  • L&YR – Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway
  • LBSCR – London, Brighton & South Coast Railway
  • LC&DR – London, Chatham & Dover Railway
  • LmR – London Midland Region
  • LMR – Longmoor Military Railway
  • LMS – London, Midland & Scottish Railway
  • LNER – London & North Eastern Railway
  • LNWR – London & North Western Railway
  • LSWR – London & South Western Railway
  • LT – London Transport
  • LT&S – London, Tilbury & Southend
  • MD&HB – Mersey Docks & Harbour Board
  • Mett-Camm – Metro-Cammell (Metropolitan Cammell Carriage and Wagon Company), builders of the Class 101 and ‘Blue Pullman’ DMUs
  • Metro-Vick – Metropolitan Vickers, builders of the Irish Rail A Class diesel-electrics
  • MGW – Midland Great Western Railway (of Ireland)
  • Mk1 – Mark 1 is the family designation for the first standardised designs of railway carriages built by British Railways (BR) from 1951 until 1974. It was of course followed by Mk2, Mk3, then Mk4 stock.
  • MPD – Motive Power Depot
  • NIR – Northern Ireland Railways
  • NOL – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for No Lavatory whereas a HAL had one and a BIL had two
  • NSE – Network SouthEast
  • OHLE – Overhead Line Equipment
  • ‘Over the camera’ – when a camera is placed in the four-foot between the running rails and a train passes over the top
  • PAN – Southern Region EMU classification – unit includes one pantry car
  • PT – Pannier Tank engine whereby the water tanks are carried on the sides of a boiler
  • PUL – Southern Region EMU classification – unit includes one Pullman car
  • Quad-Art – LNER four-coach coupled carriage set. Stood for Quadruple-Articulated
  • Quint-Art – as above but with five coaches. Stood for Quintuple-Articulated
  • qv – quod vide. Latin for ‘which see’; used to reference material mentioned in text
  • ‘Second unit’ – a discrete team of filmmakers tasked with filming shots or sequences of a production, separate from the main or “first” unit. This allowed production to be finished faster.
  • SECR – South Eastern & Chatham Railway
  • SER – South Eastern Railway
  • 16T – Standard Ministry of Transport four-wheeled sixteen-ton (loaded weight) steel bodied mineral wagon. Very common on BR.
  • SK – Second or Standard Corridor. Technical designation for a BR second or standard class corridor carriage
  • SO – Second or Standard Open. Technical designation for a BR second or standard class open (i.e non-corridor) carriage
  • SR – Southern Railway or Southern Region
  • ST – Saddle Tank engine whereby the water tank straddles across the top of the boiler
  • ‘Stock shot’ – a piece of film or video footage originally shot for one, but then used again in other films (scenes from Brief Encounter (1945) are by far the most prevalent)
  • SUB – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for Suburban
  • T – Tank engine whereby the water tanks are either side of the boiler
  • TPO – Travelling Post Office
  • TS – Trailer Standard. Technical designation for a DMU vehicle
  • TSO – Trailer (or Tourist) Standard Open. Technical designation for a BR second class open (i.e non-corridor) carriage
  • 12T – 12 Ton four-wheeled covered railway van, an extremely common type
  • USATC – United States Army Transportation Corps
  • VEP – Southern Region EMU classification – acronym for Vestibule Electro-Pneumatic braked
  • VSOE – Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
  • WAGN – West Anglia Great Northern
  • WCML – West Coast Main Line
  • WD – War Department
  • WR – Western Region
  • WT – Well Tank engine whereby the water tank sat between the frames beneath the boiler. Saved on weight but not all that common

Country designations:

  • AUS – Australia
  • BEL – Belgium
  • CAN – Canada
  • CZH – Czech Republic
  • FRA – France
  • GB – Great Britain
  • GER – Germany
  • IND – India
  • IRE – Ireland
  • ITA – Italy
  • JAP – Japan
  • PAK – Pakistan
  • PHI – Philippines
  • SWE – Sweden
  • US – United States