Head-end cars: The term used for mail, baggage, and express cars (when they used to be in service on passenger trains) as they were located right behind the lead locomotive(s) of a train.
Heavyweights: Term used for dated passenger railroad cars that were much heavier than the newer streamlined cars built roughly after 1950.
Hopper: Freight cars that
contain some type of angled or sloped drop-bottom chutes or hatches,
which use the force of gravity to quickly unload their cargo without
having to tilt or turn the car upside down in any way.
Hydra-Cushion freight cars: Just as the term implies this
technology is meant to cushion the lading being hauled using hydraulics
to absorb the stresses of the ride while in transit.
Multi-level: See auto-rack.
Open-top car: A general term for a railroad freight car with no roof whether it does or does not also include sides.
Outfit car: See camp car.
PCC car: Short for Presidents' Conference Committee car, which was a streetcar with streamlining built during the 1930s.
Reefer: Slang term for refrigerator car.
Refrigerator car: A boxcar which contains refrigeration equipment to keep perishable items fresh in transit.
Rotary dump car: A standard open hopper with rotary couplers which allows the car to be spun to include its contents (usually coal).
Rotary plow: A snowplow with a set of revolving blades that churns the snow up through an exhaust port.
Scale test car: This little car, usually with just two axles, is used to verify that railroad track scales are properly weighing cars when billing customers.
Spine car: Usually constructed of a single center beam and articulated in either a three or five set unit, it is used specifically to haul trailers or containers.
Tank car: Basically a horizontal tank on wheels tanks cars can carry anything from gaseous to liquid commodities like chemicals and food grade products.
Theater car: Used primarily in executive or business trains it is a specially built passenger car that is equipped with a large rear window for viewing the railroad property and has a few rows of seating tiered away from the window.
Transfer caboose: These types of cabooses outlived their traditional brethren and were used in short transfer runs usually built with a short center cab and large open "porches" on either end.
Waycar: Sometimes referred to as a caboose.
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