Posted by ESC on February 08, 2002
In Reply to: Railroad terms posted by Pieter L on February 08, 2002
: Fascinating forum; found it whilst trying to find the origin for the term pig in a poke and thanks for the more than ample descriptions. I have been browsing through the forum and find it totally absorbing. Always was inquisitive for origins of words.
: One field that has also generated many terms at least for us here in North America is the railroad. Side-tracked, "throw in the coals Charlie" meaning to speed up, derailed are but a few.
I Hear America Talking: An Illustrated History of American Words and Phrases by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976) has a section on the railroad and a list of terms. There are a few sites online too. One of my favorite railroad terms is "gandy dancer," a person who repairs the rails.