Friday, 30 November 2012

Chapter 2 An explanation of a few words and concepts

Caboose: A carriage with sleeping quarters, kitchen, bathroom and eating room for crews working a long section of rail. Usually 2 crews were on board and were away from home for 3 or 4 days at a time and worked shifts of 9 hours.

Siding: Because 90% of the tracks are single track, trains travel in both directions and have to cross or pass one another. A siding is a place where trains can pass or cross one another.

Loop: The track next to the main line where trains were diverted in order to pass or cross one another. Loop could also be a loop off the siding where trucks could be left for off loading or when they had “hot boxes” etc

Points: The blades of the rails diverting a train onto another line.
Paper orders: Before the days of centralised train control, paper orders were used to give trains crossing or passing places on the single tracks. Station foremen at opposing stations drew these up.

Time table: A laid down time table was used for regular trains stating running times, crossing or passing places and stopping times from the starting point of the train up to the end of the route.

Up and down trains: The route was up from Cape Town to Cairo and down from Cairo to Cape Town.

Trolley: A small-motorised vehicle with steel wheels used for transporting signal technicians or platelayers to various parts of the track for maintenance purposes.

Station: Where a station foreman was stationed and sometimes a stationmaster too.

Guards van: The last vehicle on a train in which the train guard sits. Sometimes goods and various articles were carried in the van that could not be accommodated in the carriages.

Train driver: The person in control of the train.

Fireman: The assistant driver on diesel locomotives, also the person shovelling coal on a steam locomotive.

Ballast: The rocks from quarries used to lay the tracks on.

Please note: The illustrations used are not true representations.

PATU: Police Anti Terrorist Unit. These were men who were called up for active duty during the war.

Shunter: A person who shunts railway trucks around to make up loads or place them in specific positions.

TF: Territorial (National Service) force member who did his Army or Air Force stint in uniform


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