Trainworld Glossary

This is a non-exhaustive list of terms and metaphors that I use in the Trainworld stories you won’t find here, that I still needed to put online somewhere for easy consultation by myself and others.  This will be updated as I go on.  Words may be added and removed and/or gain new meanings and lose old ones without warning.

Newer additions will be light blue in colour for the curious who are in a hurry, over time fading to a darker blue and then eventually to the common white.  Entries that have been significantly updated will be a light green at first, then a darker green to then return to normal.

Words marked in a dark red (or light red for new entries) will not fade over time.  These are the things of which we do not speak.  No good will come of this knowledge, it will just be a burden upon your heart.  Close your ears to the sounds.  Close your eyes to their outlines.

Many of these are real railroad terms, but they might have added or changed meaning to fit the Trainworld.  Metaphoric meanings are often invented by me to fit a world built on the foundation of the presence of the huge Trains.  I have kept original meanings and distributions of responsibilities as much as I can, but I would like to remind everyone that this is a fictional world and as such things are sometimes fictional.  However, I encourage all of you who are curious about the real-world railroad to dive as deeply into researching it as I have, because it’s one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever done!

Some of these words aren’t Trainworld exclusive, but will be added here if they have particular in-world lore to them, like ‘go (game)‘ which in the Trainworld commonly is played with stones made of anthracite and steel instead of the slate and shell that is traditional in this world.

Prot. inf.‘ stands for ‘Protector informal‘.  There will also be ‘Stew. inf.‘ for ‘Steward informal‘ and ‘Stew. lang.‘ for ‘Steward Language‘.  There is also ‘Maint.‘ for maintenance crew specific words/terms/whatevers.  (Note that these words/terms/whatevers may also be in use by Drivers, Firemen and yard-bound support crew, and by the Road Foreman of Engines who is formerly of the maintenance crew as well.)
A.C.‘ stands for ‘always capitalised‘, and is for official stations (like Yardmaster, Road Foreman of Engines) and specific places (like an Agency).  ‘Train‘ is also always capitalised if it’s a T-class train, meaning one of the huge trains.  Normal trains or maintenance trains aren’t capitalised.

Warning: Some of these will contain sarcasm and my sense of humour.


Agency – (n. A.C.) A place where Protectors are trained, and quartered when in a town and off duty. An Agency is commonly also home to the Stewards working there, who tend to be unwilling to stray very far from it in case they would be needed.
The Agency also employs other crew, like the Agency Matrons; women who doesn’t afraid of anything and help keep the Protectors in their domain calm, and different combat instructors.

Agency Matron – (A.C.) Women who work at an Agency and aren’t afraid of getting in the face of angry Protectors making the mistake of fighting in the dining hall, grabbing them by their collars and saying things like: ‘Cut it out, Scruffy!’ or: ‘Settle down, Scruffette!’ Also don’t hesitate to sneakily take away a Steward’s coffee when he’s up working too late and then telling him he better bugger off to sleep.
Their reputation of being unyielding, harsh but fair tends to give them high standing amongst the Protectors, who will often look upon them with something close to awe, and amongst the Stewards who will not argue with them, knowing they do what is best for those under their domain.
Will often offer a cup of coffee to a grieving Protector and quietly sit with them while they cry, stroking their hair or shoulder, and fearlessly give a Protector a hug if they seem to need it.
Protectors will not harm an Agency Mother even when they are literally shaking in anger, because harming one is about as frowned upon as harming another Protector. Not that many would want to… and this attitude often spreads to any Protectors-in-training who quickly pick up on how more experienced Protectors will tread carefully around the Agency Matrons.

animal companion – (also: ‘working animal companion‘, often shortened to ‘AC‘/’WAC‘) These are often – but not always – animals that have been trained to work beside a specially trained Protector. Other stations who can have animal companions are maintenance crew and Surgeons, although the latter only use giant pouched rats in their work to help identify certain illnesses.

The most common AC type is rat, split into usual rats and giant pouched rats: these are generally for finding gas leaks or mould or to fetch small things. Next comes dogs: these dogs will both help with patrols, with finding people who are lost or in a place there not supposed to be, and for attack and defence. The rarest of all ACs are birds: these birds will hunt small rodents at farms and outposts, paired with a Falconer Protector. Small hawks, eagles and owls are most common, but bigger eagles and owls are also in service.

anthracite – Stone coal; a compact, high-energy variety of coal. Used for fuel for the trains.
Has a metallic-like lustre. Also used for sculpting and artworks, although many consider this wasteful.

bad news room – (Inf., especially Prot. inf.; always with definite article) Every Train, Agency and Yard has a few of these rooms, with a small metal table and two metal chairs secured to the floor with heavy bolts, and lockable, metal doors. They are not officially called ‘bad news rooms‘, but many refer to them as that since ending up in one of these always means bad news in one way or another; you have either done something really bad or something bad has happened and you are about to find out what.

bad order – 1) A tag/note applied to a defective piece of equipment, generally not to be used until repairs are performed and the equipment has been inspected and approved of returning to use.
2) (metaphor) “No, Warden Steve is not on duty today. The Guard considered him bad order due to his flu.”

Black Spot Disease – (A.C.) When the rains leak in through the dome of a farm or a town, it will get into the ground. Any vegetation that comes in contact with it will over time turn silvery pale as the mould poisons them and spread over them, and eventually develop black spots as the mould develops and starts to spore. This is an incredibly dangerous thing, but if rain has been leaking in at this point people are most probably already dying due to personal exposure.

blazon / blazoning – A term for a formal description of a uniform design. Often also used for the formal description of an insignia. (See: ‘uniform design and terms’)

blow off steam – 1) Let out pressure from the steam engine in order to avoid it exploding, because that would be extremely bad.
2) To say or do things that helps one settle down after having been excited or upset. Protectors frequently do this by sparring with one another, and when they argue they tend to use their fists as much as their words. Also used if someone achieves the same thing by a just a heated discussion.

book – 1) (always with definite article) See: ‘money book’.
2) Artefacts more or less as rare as clear skies. Most remaining books are in the possession of Stewards and Agencies and public libraries. Paper is too precious to waste on making mass- market books, and illiteracy is a common problem anyway. A few larger scale printeries still exist, and a few smaller ones.
Most paper is used for official documents such as letters and reports, and very dutifully recycled when no longer filling a purpose, to be used again.

celebration – (always with definite article) The two evenings of festivities for Protectors that mark the beginning of a Train trip between two station towns. It involves things like having a great feast and getting drunk together, celebrating both to have survived thus far and getting to know new arrivals and forming new bonds. Because it involves getting drunk it spans over two evenings, since only half of the assembled Protectors may be drunk at the same time, should there be an emergency that has to be dealt with.
The two first days tend to be calmer and their schedules will be a lot more free and relaxed.

cess1) The area either side of the railway immediately off the ballast shoulder and tracks. It provides a safe area for workers to stand when Trains approach and there’s no maintenance track.
Located beside the wider tracks for the Train; the tracks for the attached maintenance vehicles have no cesses, but there will be alcoves here and there beside them offering safe spaces.
2) The margins of a paper.
3) (metaphor) ‘She prefers to hide on the cesses.’ Someone who is reluctant to take action, preferring to hide instead of risking their own safety. Usually deeply condescending, especially when said by a Protector.

cesser – (Prot. inf.) Derogatory term for a person who’s reluctant to take action out of a worry of their own safety. A coward. (See also ‘cess’, 3)

chair – A part of the railway track: a piece or metal that is used to attach rails to sleepers to make a track.

chair – (always with definite article) In this place where the truth has already been established, you will be given to their knives and canes. Their smiles will be your world.

civilian – Comes in two different versions: civilian crew and true civilians.
True civilians are usually citizens of station towns or towns, occasionally of outposts (affiliated and unaffiliated). They can have whatever names they fancy. In case of being suspected of crime or being caught red-handed, they are investigated and judged by Stewards, who will attempt to sort them out and teach them. True civilians who are citizens of a station town, town or affiliated settlement have the right to a fair hearing; to food and shelter, even if they may be sparse and small; to work if they can work; to protection and medical assistance. Those of an unaffiliated settlement are generally dependant upon a nearby underground settlement, which will protect, help and assist them in return for food and an occasional walk under the dome and sky.

True civilians can hold some stations on a Train and still not be considered a part of the Train’s crew or giving up their true civilian status. This is common for positions in which they may be temporary members of the Train crew, such as nurses, private space attendants (usually curious station porters), food specialists and chefs who tend to come and go. Surgeons live in two worlds since many of them only serve on the Trains for a year or so and then return to stationary hospitals, but the longer they stay the more expected it is of them to fully commit to the on-Train civilian crew and show it in their name. Some who are sure that they will remain on the Trains will take their new name straight away.

Civilian crew are yard-bound or on-Train crews, and while not full civilians they still have a lot of rights: they have the right to a fair wage; to a pension; to quarter; and if they are suspected/accused of misconduct: to a fair hearing by the Yardmaster if yard-bound or the Guard if on-Train crew before disciplinary action is taken against them. (Unless the offences are grave, in which case even civilian crew will be handed over to the Council of the home yard.) On-Train crew have the right to free passage on any Train and to food and quarter, even on Trains where they are not currently working/stationed (if for example they have a rest period or are going somewhere off-schedule).

The maintenance crew are also in a strange position of both being a part of the Train crew and considered to be of the civilian crew at the same time. In their case it’s easily dealt with by them being their own branch on a separate chain of command, though, under the Road Foreman of Engines, who too is considered a part of the civilian side.

clear as a rare sky – (saying) Comment of something is absolutely obvious.
“My Steward didn’t like the Agency Mother taking his coffee from him. It was clear as a rare sky even if he tried to hide it!”
(See also ‘rare as a clear sky’.)

coffee – A beverage made of water and roasted, ground coffee beans. Only added here because of differences in how it is prepared and enjoyed from the modern world.
Most people will rarely drink coffee, but many Train related officials and crew still do to various degrees. None of them – with the exception of the Driver and Fireman – will drink their coffee at the strengths which are normal today. Most drink it at about half the strength or lower, and many of the crews will mostly be drinking semi-coffee (see: ‘semi-coffee’).

collision – Even as metaphor.

comlang – also known as ‘common speech‘, ‘common tongue‘ or just ‘common‘ is an international auxlang (auxiliary language) designed to be a shared second language. Many officials and on-Train crew use this pretty much as their only language when speaking amongst themselves as it makes everything so much more convenient. Stewards often know the language of the place they grew up, the comlang, the Steward language and usually the basics of at least one other language. Communication and writing is basically what they do, so they have much time to learn.

consign – (v. Prot. / Stew. formal, also Coun.) To give temporary possession of something (or in some cases someone) which you still consider to belong to you until some other criteria have been fulfilled. This does not have to be voluntary, as it rarely is when a Steward needs to give a Protector over to the Council, and thus usually this word carries an implication that the giving over of said item or person was not voluntary.

Council – (n. A.C.) The ruling body of a town or station town. Consists of five, seven, nine or eleven Councillors. In charge of settling on timetables and Train schedules with other Councils; appoints and trains Stewards; appoints other important stations such as Trainmasters, Yardmasters, Road Foremen of Engines. Has a say in promotions to Drivers and Firemen.
Sole arbiters in the case of trial and judgement of Protectors and Stewards.
There are no words for how much I dislike these people. They are arrogant and cowardly and [*is carried off stage, furiously snarling and clawing in the air*]

Councillor – (A.C.) An official member of a Council. Former Steward. Does Council stuff. Will often have at least a few Stewards he’s responsible for giving advice and keeping an eye on.
A Councillor always have an eleven letter name and no family name.
Should be slowly roasted alive over nice, warm embers and enjoyed with fresh bread.

crew – A more common term for personnel and staff.

cut – 1) To uncouple one or more vehicles from a Train (to “make a cut”).
2) Taking someone off an established formation or taking someone off a patrolling pair.
“We’re going to cut her off the formation/pair. She’s bad order right now.”

dark signal – 1) A block signal that is displaying no discernible aspect, often due to burned out lamps or a Signalman having passed out/gone missing somehow. Most railways require that a dark signal be treated as displaying its most restrictive aspect (e.g. stop and stay for an absolute signal). This is a very serious thing.
2) (metaphor) Temporarily showing no emotion, or being good at hiding them/showing another one than expected. Having a good poker face.

dark territory – 1) A section of track without block signals.
2) (metaphor) Having an habitually good poker face. Stewards are notoriously considered dark territory based on their ability to hide their thoughts and emotions.
“That damned Steward is fucking dark territory. No way anyone can read what’s on his mind!”
3) (metaphor) Someone who’s cold and distant and doesn’t care about anything.
“They’ve been dark territory ever since their partner died.”
Might also be used condescendingly: “You’re fucking dark territory! Do you even have feelings?!”

Declarations of Transit – (A.C., always with definite article) Often called just ‘the Declarations‘. The rules governing the Trains; the rights and responsibilities of travellers; the rights and responsibilities of on-Train crew whether official or civilian. Such boring paperwork stuff. No one reads them, surely? Oh. Oh, apparently they are required knowledge for basically all official stations…

Noted for not mentioning travellers without tickets at all, since it was written a long time before ticketless stowaways became an issue and anyone could travel freely – some interpret this as ticketless travellers strictly speaking having no legal rights and they sneak aboard at their own peril and that Protectors have no responsibilities towards them and should not waste time and resources on helping them, while others insist it only means that one should make no difference in treatment between different kinds of travellers since the Declarations obviously don’t.

The Councils, Guards and Wardens are usually of the first opinion, while most Protectors and Stewards will be of the second opinion. This is clearly a problem and something that occasionally leads to disagreements.

derail – 1) When a train, you know, derail and stuff.
2) (metaphor) When a situation escalates out of control or gets out of hand.

Doe – (A.C.) What any unidentified, usually extremely dead Protector is called until their identity has been established. While technically a name a Protector can take at a naming ceremony, it is not a name one will willingly take. If you ever meet a Protector with the name ‘Doe’ you will know they have an extremely dark sense of humour and that something terrible (perhaps even the worst thing possible) has happened to them at some point: in any case, you should probably just nod politely and then get as far away from them as possible.
Unidentified, non-Protector bodies are generally called either ‘Jane Doe’ or ‘John Doe’. Only Protectors are ever called just ‘Doe’-s.

dog patrol – 1) One of the last stages of Protector training; the stage where they are sent out in formations to kill off feral and stray animals to keep the towns safe. While called ‘dog patrols’, they deal with all encountered feral or stray animals, including rats, cats, mice and birds.
2) (metaphor) ‘You’ll be sent back on dog patrol!’ Usually used by a Guard against a Protector, with the connotation that they might be demoted and have to prove themselves to re-earn the trust of their Steward. Won’t ever be used by an actual Steward; they have much better ways of making their displeasure known.
(NOTE: No one is ever sent back to actual dog patrol, but in rare cases when a Protector has shown a severe and continuous or repeated lack of judgement, they will be taken off duty and put back under more tutelage by their Steward. This is generally considered extremely embarrassing for everyone involved, and doubt will often be cast upon the Steward’s abilities to train his Protectors. If it happens repeatedly and the Steward loses the trust of the Council he might have to earn it again.)

Driver – (A.C) The Driver and the Fireman are on another chain of command than the rest of the Train personnel and crew, namely under the Road Foreman of Engines. However, they must obey the orders of the Guard of his own train in matters that aren’t related to the mechanical aspects of Train operation. Besides the duty of actually operating the Train, the Driver also has to teach and advice the Fireman that assists him.
Often starting out as sweepers and other yard-bound, Train-tending crew, they later become on- board maintenance crew, then Firemen and later Drivers should the Road Foreman of Engines and the Council find them suitable.
Exempt from coffee rationing.
One of the few crew members who can invoke Right of Emergency; should the Guard die or be otherwise incapacitated or go missing, the Driver has to also carry out the Guard’s responsibilities until the Guard recovers or can be replaced. Thankfully he can often rely on the most experienced Wardens to help out, just like the Guard often will.
The Driver always have a seven letter name.

duel value – A measure of expected resistance and perceived/technical difficulty presented by a target/opponent, in respect to how easy they would be to take down. An unarmed person curled up on the ground would have an extremely low duel value, whereas a pissed off, armed Protector backed into a corner would have an extremely high duel value.
A part of Protector training includes learning how to present the highest possible duel value without being overtly threatening to discourage attacks on them.
Stewards learn during their training how to present extremely low duel values, making them appear as if they are not at all a threat in any way and in that way they put people around them at ease. The fact that Steward in reality are just as difficult to take down as any Protector does not count.

expedition formation – Some of the very best Protectors are in charge of going on expeditions outdome in order to see what goes on out there and take notes, and sometimes recover resources, or map out paths, or make sure the ground over the tunnels is still okay.
These Protectors will make up different expedition formations where every formation member has a primary and secondary duty of which they will be more or less the keenest of experts. Their training is tough and harsh, even for Protectors, but if one is part of one it’s something one is definitely getting some sort of enjoyment out of or one would never be there.
On paper, an expedition formation will have a Steward overseeing them, but in practice they oversee and take responsibility for their own training, and not even the Council will willingly mess with them.
Due to the requirements, these formations are exceedingly rare. Maybe one in twenty station towns will have one, so they will occasionally travel to other places. Being outdome is much, much more dangerous than any Train or tunnel, and these formations will be immensely protective of one another, even by Protector standards.

Falconer (Protector) – A Protector trained and officially cleared to work with and keep a bird as a WAC. Commonly just called ‘Falconer’ without the added ‘Protector’ bit. (See: ‘animal companion’)

firebox – 1) Where you put the coal to actually get/keep the Train going.
2) (metaphor) ‘dump/throw into the firebox’ – permanently getting rid of something/someone.
“I threw my shame into the firebox a long time ago.”
“They’re going to dump you into the firebox for that!”
(NOTE: No one is ever dumped into the actual firebox. They have other places for that.)

formation 1) A group of rail vehicles making up a Train; the locomotive, carriages, wagons and maintenance vehicles.
2) A group of locomotives connected together for multiple-unit operation.
3) A group of specific Protectors greater than a patrolling pair, such as a group of Protectors who are guarding a town square on orders from a Steward, or a bigger group hunting together when on dog patrol. These group compositions are usually fleeting, but they must be at least temporarily specific.
4) (Prot. inf.) An established group of Protectors who have grown closer to one another over time, generally by having been on the same Train for a long time and facing incredible hardship together and come out on top.
“Yeah, those five make up quite the formation. Wouldn’t want to try getting between them.”

full Protector – At the Agency or any other place where there are many Protectors in training, the term ‘full Protector’ is commonly used when talking of a Protector who has completed their basic Protector training in order to separate them from the Protectors in training who will often also be referred to as Protectors. This is akin to the difference between how the terms ‘civilian’ and ‘true civilian’ will be used.
(See also: ‘Scruffy/Scruffette’; ‘civilian’)

go – a two-player game commonly played on a gridded 9×9, 13×13 or 19×19 board made of a light, durable material like steel or tin. The goal is to control as much territory at the end of the game as possible and the players (commonly referred to as Black and White due to the colour of the pieces they control) will take turns alternately placing pieces, called ‘stones’ on the intersections of the grid lines. While called ‘stones’, the pieces are commonly made of anthracite for black and stainless steel for white.
In previous times the board would be made of wood and the stones made of black slate and white shell, but while a few of these sets still exist they are incredibly rare and priceless.

going to rain – (expression) Used to convey a feeling or anticipation that something really bad is about to happen.
“It looks like it’s about to start raining on those two.”
“I think it’s going to rain tonight when they find out what I did.”

Guard – (A.C) The person with the highest level of responsibility and authority aboard a Train, appointed by the Council in association with the Trainmaster. Has the responsibility of the Train itself and that it is safe and operates properly; all the crew and their needs; all the travellers; all the Protectors, all the cargo and supplies.
All Guards have nine letter names.

Hearing – (A.C, always with definite article) The Hearing is where they will not listen to you. Your pleas will fall to silence and the silence will devoured by screaming and the sound of iron and patter patter. You will be given to the chair in the end, like everyone before you.

heraldic colours and meanings – The uniforms and insignias have limited colours, and this is a list of the colours in use and what they mean/symbolise:
Blue – A colour strongly associated with the Council, worn and given to those in the Council’s favour. The colour is a deep, rich and clear blue, signifying the colour of a rare, clear sky.
White – The second colour associated with and favoured by the Council. The colour signifies the light of the sun and serves as a reminder of days less dark. Also seems somewhat like nice, kind clouds; not the ones full of rain that will kill you.
Dark blue – The base colour of the uniforms the maintenance crew will wear. Does it have a meaning? Probably. Could they explain it in less than an hour of meandering musings? Probably not.
Gold (yellow) – This colour symbolises riches and integrity, often used for the people who are involved in trade and organisation. Also used in insignias after ten years of service.
Black – The colour of the darkness in the tunnels, and other dark places.
Orange – A colour of high honour and respect for civilians and official crew, which might be worn even after retirement. If someone has a band of orange on them, you know they have done something extraordinary in their life.
Green – The colour of loyalty and hard work. Usually reserved for civilians working at the Agency, like different instructors and Agency Matrons.
Emerald – A lighter, clearer green. Leaf green. Usually the colour an Agency Matron’s clothes will be banded with.
RedThere is blood on your hands. Nothing can ever change that; you are irredeemable.

highball 1) A type of signal system, using a ball in different positions instead of signs or coloured lights. A ‘highball’ means the ball is in it’s top position and thus giving a Train an all clear to continue at maximum speed. (See also ‘lowball’, the opposite.)
2) (metaphor) Doing something in full earnest, on top of one’s abilities.
“He got into the fight and highballed it.”

hiss-singing – (Maint.) Generally speaking, any of the kind of songs that the maintenance crew sing when thinking and working, often improvised on the spot, made up from rhythmic hissing as if to emulate the sound of steam and machinery. They will tap their feet to this, or if walking to it tap one of the feet harder to the floor as they walk along. If more than one of the crew is singing together, they will usually sing in different voices and in different patterns.
Will also sometimes be referred to as ‘machine songs‘ or ‘machine singing‘.
(There are also songs which are group/Train specific and will be taught over time to new members of the group. See ‘Train songs‘ for this.)

honorary insignia – Some insignias may be worn even after retirement: these will be awarded to a person who have served with distinction and gone far above and beyond what their station would have demanded of them. They will have the basic station signifier as when they were in training, but it will be circled by a ring in orange enamel.

If the honorary insignia is for a Train-related official station or for civilian crew, it will still grant the wearer free passage and food and shelter, as if the wearer were still in service. Similarly, having been granted an honorary insignia, the wearer is still considered to be of this station, and may keep on using the name they had in that station.

hotbox – 1) An axle bearing that has become excessively hot due to friction and might be in danger of malfunctioning if left unattended.
2) (Prot. inf.) Someone who is easily offended, or who has difficulties keeping calm, especially under pressure and stress. Someone who might be liable to snap or resort to violence.

insignia – (n) A symbol of one’s status/station. Usually only Train-related crews or civilian crews will have these, but some stations also have them for people who are under training. They will contain one’s station signifier, generally an object symbolising the station, and for example Train-related crew will have their station signifier interwoven with a train wheel. The number of spokes on the wheel will give a hint as to how long the wearer has been in service.

Some insignias may be worn even after retirement: these will be awarded to a person who have served with distinction and gone far above and beyond what their station would have demanded of them. They will have the basic station signifier as when they were in training, but it will be circled by a ring in orange enamel.
(See: ‘station signifier‘; ‘insignia experience levels‘; ‘honorary insignia‘)

insignia experience levels – All official Train related official crew have equal standing/station with anyone else of the same station, but there is still an experience/years of service system in place to reflect one’s experience in a certain station. For Train-related official crew, the time of service can be seen on the number of spokes in the Train wheel which will be interwoven with the symbol of one’s station, but colours will also change.
The levels are as follows:
Training Level: Just one’s station signifier, in silver. No train wheel, even for Train-related stations.
Basic Level: Silver. Six spokes. One will get this one as soon as one finishes one’s basic training for the station.
First Grade: (One year of service) Silver. Eight spokes.
Second Grade: (Three years of service) Silver. Ten spokes.
Third Grade: (Five years of service) Silver. Twelve spokes.
Fourth Grade: (Ten years of service) Twelve spokes, but now one’s station signifier is in gold, the rest is silver.
Fifth Grade: (Fifteen years of service) Twelve spokes, golden station signifier and golden wheel.
Sixth Grade: (Twenty years of service) Twelve spokes, golden station signifier and a golden wheel, and now there has crept in some blue enamel around the edge of the wheel.
Seventh Grade: (Twenty-five years of service) Twelve spokes, silver station signifier, a gold wheel with a blue enamel edge, and the silver wings that the insignias of those belonging to the Council will have.

For civilian crew the same standards apply. For true civilians, experience will be shown in other ways.

Interrogator – (A.C.) No, don’t ask; the questions are not for you to ask, just to answer.

Lady of Steel – (Maint.; always with definite article) One of the two spirits/semi-deties of maintenance crew mythology. Primarily associated with a sharp intellect and good perception. Described as a dark woman walking around dressed in a dress or shroud of white steam. She will sing in the walls, never with words but ‘like humming with one’s lips pressed together’. She is said to be harsh but fair, and to be the one to call people to become maintenance crew. It’s also said that nothing will ever happen on a Train that she doesn’t know about. It’s common to ask her for advice, and for protection from accidents.

leave – (n) Any officially granted time off one’s duties; vacation.

leave (out) in the rain – (expression) 1) Act with utter disregard for someone’s life or wellbeing, often with the result of them coming to harm or ending up dead.
“The Declarations of Citizenry says we must care for everyone. We can’t just leave the poor out in the rain.”
2) Leave for dead.  3) (Prot. inf.) On par with round-chambering someone, but with a definite overtone of the most despicable kind of betrayal and vile treachery. A Councillor will round-chamber people; it’s what they do and nothing better should be expected from them, but a Protector betraying another Protector to the Guard or the Council? That goes beyond just throwing them in the firebox; that’s wilfully leaving them out in the rain.
“A Protector never leaves another Protector in the rain! If you go to the Guard on this, one of us is as good as dead and you’re to blame!”
(See also: ‘firebox’, 2; ’round chamber’, 2)

like giving a nameless one a mirror – (expression) Occasionally said by a Councillor to a Steward, to let him know that whatever he’s suggested is a terrible, terrible idea. Even if the Steward has never heard this rare expression before, he will understand the meaning of it.

Lord of Iron – (Maint.; always with definite article) One of the two spirits/semi-deties of maintenance crew mythology. Primarily associated with unyielding determination and stubborn persistence in face of adversity, and with loyal toiling and ceaseless work. He is the one to invoke when accidents happen, to ask for strength to get through them. Often described as an old man – strong of the sinewy and tough kind – shrouded in dark smoke and almost all covered in oil and soot from top to toe.
Not described as someone who ever sings, but occasionally he will speak to someone who is in dire trouble if they are all alone, lending some extra strength and determination. He will never offer any outright comfort to let someone die easier, but he might point something out that the person has at first missed, like a way out or a tool that might help.

machine singer – (Maint.; inf.) An informal nickname for a person of the maintenance crew, used primarily by them but also sometimes by others as well.

machine songs – (Maint.) See ‘hiss-singing’.

maintenance crew – While generally referring to the on-Train people in charge of maintenance there, there are also people of this crew who periodically do yard-bound work or station at an underground settlement, and no matter where they are found there’s no mistaking who they are.
Directly under the Road Foreman of Engines on his chain of command, and therefore of the same rank as the Driver and the Fireman, although most of the time they won’t make a big deal of this high rank.
One of the few groups who can claim Right of Emergency if things go to hell.
An extremely peculiar bunch with their own songs and mythology and naming scheme. Far too important and useful for others to give too much trouble. On-Train maintenance crew will have songs specific to their Train which they are taught by the more experienced crew members over time.

money book – Also known as ‘the book’. Protectors don’t normally carry much around except for their weapons and the uniform they wear. One of the things they generally never carry around is actual cash; instead they have a small book in which their earnings are added by either the Guard if they are on a Train or the local Agency if in station. (If they are in a settlement, a Steward can do this as well. If there are no Stewards, a Guard on a passing Train will take care of it.)
Most commercial establishments accept these as a valid form of payment and will note the ID number of the book, add the charge to the book with a control number and total and collect their money at the local Agency or from the Wardens of a Train.
These are sometimes controlled and if there are any problems one is in a lot of trouble.

monkey wrench – To sabotage.

nameless oneSurely, you must be joking? Names are important things. Anyone who is a person at all has a name.

names – These are incredibly important, and many naming conventions are in place and strictly adhered to. Officials and official on-Train crew have an uneven number of letters, and civilian crews have an even number of letters to their names. This is a short, incomplete overview:

Official crew:
Councillors: Eleven letter names, no family names.
Stewards: Nine letter names, with his responsible Councillor’s name as a family name. This last name will only be used in the most formal of situations.
Guards: Nine letter names, no family names.
Drivers: Seven letter names, no family names.
Firemen: Five letter names, no family names.
Wardens: Five letter names, no family names.
Protectors: Three letter names, with their Steward’s name as a family name. This last name will only be used in the most formal of situations.

Civilian crew:
Chiefs of On-Board Services: Ten letter names, no last names.
Chief surgeon: Eight letter names, no last names.
Trainmasters: Eight letter names, no last names.
Yardmasters: Eight letter names, no last names.
Road Foremen of Engines: Eight letter names, often keeping the last names they had as a maintenance workers. No one argues with them about this.
Surgeons: Six letter names, no last names.

All these names are commonly taken during special naming ceremonies, but how these look are different between different groups. Usually the ceremonies are held upon entering into training or apprenticeship for the station, or when entering them fully trained as do Drivers.

Protectors too generally take their names at a naming ceremony, but Stewards are known to occasionally give prospective Protectors names on their own if they are feeling certain. These names are generally something that should be treasured immensely.

True civilians: Can have any names they want, except for eleven letters or longer, with a family name attached. Are generally named by their parents, but can change names by filling out forms or through marriage.
Maintenance crew: Can officially have whatever first and last names they please, but tend to have their own naming conventions they adhere to. First names almost always end in an ‘-ie’ or ‘-y’ sound, like Jamie, Rumsey and Conny. Last names often have to do with Trains, mechanics or maintenance things, like Gricer, Sprocket or Wheeltapper.
Don’t have any naming ceremonies, and will just start using whatever they want by beginning to use it when they introduce themselves to others.  They are known to give people they like nicknames that fit their naming conventions as a sign of respect. This most often happens with Protectors, to the indignation of many a Warden.

Notch 8 – 1) The eighth notch of the throttle control, indicating full power.
2) (metaphor) See ‘highball’, 2.

outdome – Any bit of world outside of the domes and under the sky. The interior of tunnels does not count, so underground settlements are not considered to be outdome despite them not having or requiring domes. However, the interior of houses in abandoned cities from a time before domes will be considered as still being outdome.

outpost – Farms; on-ground support facilities like water purification and sewage plants; things like that. Comes in two varieties: affiliated and unaffiliated. Affiliated outposts tend to be farms and facilities in the close proximity of a station town and they fall under the government of the Council there. Unaffiliated outposts are usually only found in the proximity of underground settlements and help support them (often with food) in return for protection and services.

patrolling pair – (n) When Protectors are patrolling together, they are generally in a pair, called a ‘patrolling pair’. These tend to be of one to a few configurations depending on what needs to be done: for example, it’s common that a more experienced Protector will take a much younger patrolling partner with them when they are patrolling in a place where little danger is to be expected, and pair up with a Protector of equal or close to equal experience when patrolling more dangerous locations.
Of course, if both Protectors are very experienced, it matters less if there is a disparity in years: a Protector with ten years of experience may choose a Protector with one or three years of experience as a patrolling partner for low-danger patrols, but wish to pair up with another ten-year or at least an eight-year for a dangerous situation. A fifteen-year or older will probably not care if their patrolling partner is ‘just’ a ten-year, for any situation.
Patrolling pairs are generally rather stable in configuration(s), and these Protectors will generally develop very strong bonds to one another. They spend a lot of time together, and must depend on one another: either in a student/mentor kind of way, or in a we-face-death-together-daily-and-I-trust-you-with-my-life kind of way that’s even more pronounced than the one a formation faces.

patrolling partner – (n) Any Protector in a patrolling pair will refer to the other Protector as their patrolling partner. They might have more than one, for different kinds of patrols.
Any Protector tends to be very protective of their patrolling partner(s), and might also be quite possessive of them, especially if they are much younger and the older Protector considers the younger one an adopted younger sibling, or the other way around.
We find our comforts where we find them, especially in dark places.

Protector – Part military, part police, all around useful but volatile people to have around. Directly under their Steward’s responsibility, but must still obey and respect the orders of any Wardens or Guards aboard a Train. Usually left to do their job – that is, to keep order and make sure travellers are safe – without interference from outsiders, although Wardens will assist them as able and try to make sure they have all the supplies they need.
In towns, settlements and affiliated outposts they have very limited authority since it’s taken for granted that there are Stewards available there, but at unaffiliated outposts they have the same authority as on a Train.
One of the few groups who can claim Right of Emergency on a Train if things go to hell, but they better be sure there’s no other way to solve the situation as they are responsible for everything that happens once Right of Emergency is invoked.

Protector Rules – (always with definite article): short version
You will be the light in the dark tunnels.
You will be a shelter for the weak in the storm.
You will uphold the Declarations of Transit at any cost,
with sword and word as the situation demands.
You will uphold the honour of the Agency in all you do.
You will always stand by another Protector.
You will never kill another Protector, and doing so
is a crime punishable by death.
You will never take a life unless it is to protect
someone weaker or someone more dependant on you.
You will only take a life when it is your right to do so
according to the laws in The Declarations of Transit.

Protector sign language – (Also known as just ‘Protector sign’ as well) A highly specialised sign language spoken with only one hand (either one can be used; the signs are just mirrored between them) to allow them to silently communicate while on strike actions and still allow them to have a drawn weapon.  While extremely intricate when it comes to coordinate strategies, it’s pretty useless as a general language as general talking is not something it’s designed for.
Protectors learn this language during their basic training and are required to be highly proficient in it and able to use it in stressful situations.
Being the people who teaches it to the Protectors, Stewards are highly proficient in it as well, but it is considered rude and bad manners to ‘listen in’ on Protectors speaking in it unless there is reason to expect them to be plotting one’s imminent demise or something like that.

rain – It will kill you terribly, but at least it will also kill you quickly.

rare as a clear sky – (saying) Something incredibly rare, usually associated with something precious or important.
“A true friend is rare as a clear sky.”

retirement – What is this???

Right of Emergency – (A.C.) The right some on-Train crews can invoke under extreme circumstances. The people who can invoke Right of Emergency can only do so for situations in which they are the most suitable to take control. In short:
Drivers: Can invoke the Right of Emergency should the Guard of the Train die, be incapacitated or go missing. He then takes on the Guard’s responsibilities until the Guard recovers or can be replaced.
In the case of a loss of Guard, the invocation of Right of Emergency isn’t optional. The Driver has to do it.
Maintenance crew: Can invoke the Right of Emergency over the Train and all the crew in cases of extreme malfunctions and machinery breaking down, until the situation has been resolved. In such situations their orders carry the highest priority and can’t be refuted or disobeyed by anyone, not even the Guard.
Protectors: Can invoke the Right of Emergency should there be widespread riots or any other danger from terrorists/suchlike, or travellers, until the situation is resolved. This is basically the equivalent of declaring martial law, and it’s not a decision taken lightly even by the Protectors. It better be literally the only way to resolve the situation because they will be held accountable for everything that happens under their command, and if the Right of Emergency has been invoked too early or without good enough causes they will be punished harshly.

Road Foreman of Engines – (A.C) A station granted by the Council. The person with the responsibility over the station town’s Drivers, Firemen and the maintenance crew from/in their station town. He trains, advices, evaluates and disciplines those under his command.
Usually a former Driver who wishes to enter the management crew of the railway, the Road Foreman of Engines knows everything there is to know about Trains. He could walk through any Train and clear it for departure all by himself, and fix almost any problem he might find while doing it. The Trainmaster will ask him for his opinion if there are any doubts. Any maintenance worker listens to his advice and treats him with utmost awe.
The Road Foreman of Engines has an eight letter name and is considered a part of the Civilian crew, but as someone who has been and has far too much to do with the maintenance crews he tends to keep his maintenance crew last name.

romo – (Stew. lang. / Prot. inf.) Someone who is particularly rootless and prone to just wandering, without building connections to neither places nor people. Usually only used by Stewards and is a word from their language, but has gained some usage amongst Protectors.

round chamber – (Prot. inf.; always with definite article) 1) The meeting chamber of the Council, which is round and tend to always mean extremely bad news for a Protector, or in rare cases the worst news.
2) (Prot. inf.; saying) A metaphor for any extreme repercussions, up to and including execution, whether or not the Council or the Council meeting chamber will be involved in any way.
“They’ll send us to the round chamber if they find out.”
(Can also be used as a verb: “They’ll round-chamber that Warden for nicking supplies for himself.”)

safe travels – Used as a greeting, as farewell and to wish a good night.

Scruffy/Scruffette – (A.C.; Agency Matron inf.) Affectionate pet name for full Protectors, who are often of the rather unkempt variety, although this is not a requirement: every full Protector is a Scruffy or Scruffette to them. While it may sound like an insult and would be if anyone else used it, no one would ever accuse an Agency Matron of using it that way.
“Settle down, Scruffy! No fighting in the dining area; you have you’re training halls for that!”
(‘Scruffer’ is a gender neutral version of this word.)

semi-coffee – Part different quantities of tree bark, spices, other fillings such as roasted rice and also part actual coffee beans! A Protector favourite. They tend to actually like the horrid thing.
Fun Fact: Some Stewards drink it too and seem not to mind. You’ll never see a Councillor or Guard drink semi-coffee though; they are above such things.

senior Steward – Whichever Steward has the longest experience at his Agency. Senior Stewards have no extra rights or benefits, but a whole bunch of extra responsibilities. As the senior Steward one is the speaker for the Agency in official matters, and one must speak for every other Steward and their wishes before the Council. One must hold meetings at the Agency at least twice a day to keep informed of what is going on. One will also be the Agency’s contact in official matters regarding the Agency in relation to other Agencies, and will often be the one offering help and advice to other Stewards, and one also has more of a responsibility to guide and reprimand them as needed.

An extra responsibility is that if a Councillor is not available (maybe due to death) to Speak for a Steward under trial and judgement, the senior Steward of his Agency can also choose to Speak for him.

To make time for these new responsibilities, a senior Steward will customarily no longer hold public school classes. Neither will he personally conduct any civilian investigations, although he will very often still help out with them if his experience or advice is needed.

settlement – The tunnels need maintenance, so spread out through the tunnels are small, underground settlements where people are stationed on posts usually varying from half a year up to one year. Often just home to a hundred to two hundred people at most, counting people who are stationed there but might often be away for extended periods of time, like sleeper gangs and Signalmen.
These are not civilian settlements and civilians are not allowed in them, just as they are not allowed in a yard; the only people allowed to live in an underground settlement are:
Engineers and maintenance crew, who can keep the tunnels safe and in operational condition.
(Patrollers is a subgroup: usually a pair consisting of an engineer and a maintenance worker with a working animal companion who can signal if they find water leaking in. Occasionally a Protector might tag along.)
Signalmen, who make sure any mechanical signals in the tunnels show the right aspects.
Sleeper gangs, who make sure the tracks are in working order.
Stewards, who in settlements fill more or less the same function as the Council does in a station town. They also help out with education and keeping an eye on the visiting, residential or wandering Protectors, and have the authority to lead investigations in case of civilian crimes aboard a Train: however, they don’t have the authority to conduct trial and judgement.
Protectors, who are Protectors as always, I guess. The rules for conduct in an underground settlement are basically the same as they are on a Train, although if a Steward resides there they must follow the same rules as in a town or affiliated outpost. Will sometimes join a pair of patrollers when they set out into the tunnels, or follow Signalmen out to their stations to make sure they are safe.
Wardens, who sometimes drop by to learn how settlements work. Tend to not stay for long, but will almost always hang out with any Stewards there out of a lack of a Guard to moth around.

Signalman / Signal Maintainer – (A.C) Many of these are living in underground settlements, making sure that the signal lights and signs in the tunnels are showing the aspects they are supposed to show.
In a station town or town they operate under the supervision of the Yardmaster where they mostly change the signals remotely from one of their signal huts. In the tunnels, this is often a very stressful job since some of the signals are far away from the underground settlements and the job sometimes requires being alone by a signal in a tunnel for days up to a week at a time with sparse radio contact being one’s only company, or moving back and forth between several in accordance to a set pattern.

sleeper gang(er) – The brave people who makes sure the tracks are safe and in order. Their main task is generally to do this by replacing cast concrete sleepers, thereof comes their name, but also replacing broken segments of track. Being a member of the sleeper gang is a very difficult and tough job.
Near or in station towns they operate under the supervision of the Yardmasters, and in towns without a yard they operate under the resident Council, and in underground settlements and outside them they operate under their own supervision, usually out on half-year to year-long contracts.
Except for the few who live in settlements and towns, they are almost always on the move, always moving on to the next thing to be fixed further down the track.
Ironically, it can be said that the sleeper gangs probably get the least sleep of all rail-related crew.

Speak – (A.C.) It’s what he will do, trying to save you, if he has not abandoned you. It will be to no avail. They will not listen to him. They never do. They will break his heart.

station1) A physical station for Trains.
2) An held position, usually an official one granted by the Council.
3) (metaphor) A destination or a life-goal.
“My dream station would be a small unaffiliated farm by an underground settlement somewhere.”

station signifier – (n) A symbol that is a part of one’s station, usually used as a part of one’s insignia.
Some well-known station signifiers are as follows:
Animal Companion Protectors – Rat: Rat head on front / Dog: Dog head on front / Bird: Bird head on front
Fireman – Coal shovel
Maintenance worker – Pipe wrench
Medic – Staff/rod (Note: This is the rod of Asclepius but without the snake, because snakes are animals and therefore clearly not something you want in your insignia.)
Protector – Sword
Signalman – Signal switch
Sleeper ganger – Railway spike
Steward – Feather quill pen
Surgeon – Scalpel
Towerman – Tower

There is also a cane with inverted wings, at least so the saying goes:
it’s best not to ask about these things, lest you’ll be someone who knows.

station town – Any town or city sufficiently large to have its own station and accompanying yard able to hold many Trains and with the capacity to carry out extensive repairs and maintenance.
Some towns do have a small station and a small yard, but are still not considered station towns. A certain size requirement must be met for this, although it is not black and white where this line is drawn. A town does not have to have a station in order to have an Agency and a Council, although smaller towns tend to have smaller Agencies and Councils as well.

steam against (the) clouds – (saying) 1) Something insignificant and small, usually against a problem. Steam is nothing against the clouds; they don’t make the clouds bigger, nor smaller. The steam will just dissipate, making no difference either way.
“Temporary solutions to a permanent problem is just steam against clouds.”
2) Something that is in the past and irrelevant now.
“Yeah, that older Protector attacked me, but I learnt some dirty tricks from it so I hold no grudge; it’s steam against the clouds now. Hey, check this move out!”

Steward – (n. A.C) A station granted by the Council. Stewards are the men who train the Protectors at their Agency. They also lead most investigations in civilian matters, and when not needed at their Agency some of them will teach civilian classes both for children and adults.
Stewards tend to be very calm people with great confidence in themselves and their abilities. During their training they learn how to observe and read people very accurately, figuring them out and finding both mental strengths and weakness equally well. They learn how to manipulate and exploit both of them. When backed into a corner or in danger, it does not matter much that a Steward would never lift a hand to hurt someone; they will use any advantage in knowledge or understanding of their opponent in order to get themselves out of it. They can generally talk their way out of any situation or get the attacker to do violence against themselves until they’re no longer a threat.
That being said, Stewards are not physically violent people and few would survive long in a physical fight. If you need to kill a Steward, you must not let him speak. If you try to kill a Steward, he will smile at you very gently, and he will try to speak to you. He will show you his hands, all unarmed, unlike you. He will not seem like a threat. You will want to listen to him. No matter what you must not listen to him. If you do, you’re doomed.
A Steward is partially responsible for what the Protectors under his stewardship does.
While commonly stationed at an Agency, a Steward is still considered a part of the Train-related crew like his Protectors are.

Steward language – (always with definite article) A primarily written language known by the Stewards and Councillors, used for writing reports and other official documents to one another.
It’s made out of eleven syllables of a consonant/vowel or vowel/consonant pair, with five free- standing vowels used as affixes. It has it’s own writing system and only the names of people and places are still written in the Latin alphabet.
While customarily only spoken in public in extreme situations and emergencies, Stewards are known to speak it in private conversations and sparring-debates in order to train in its usage. In its spoken form it is notable for not having any sharp sounds or hard stops; for example it has no sounds like ‘k’, ‘d’, ‘p’ or ‘t’, giving a whole new meaning to the word ‘soft-spoken’.

strike (action) – 1) The name for an official intervention by Protectors as authorised or requested by a Warden or the Guard, or one that could be reasonably expected would be authorised by them. For example, if the Protectors know there is a criminal gang in a maintenance vehicle, they are expected to tell a Warden about this who will then authorise a strike. If on the other hand a patrolling pair or a formation of Protectors run into a criminal gang and are discovered and attacked, they are allowed to defend themselves and take the gang down as it could be reasonably assumed that a Warden would authorise this. In both cases, the Protectors must offer the criminals a fair chance to surrender without a fight unless it would endanger the safety of the Train.
2) (Prot. inf.) Any action/intervention generally deemed by Protectors to be for the Greater Good, sanctioned or not.
“I took a strike action against that asshat who was harassing those ticketless down in C-0-10, but I doubt he’ll tell a Warden even if he does come out of that coma.”

T-class (steam locomotive) – These things are huge!
The wheel configuration is generally a 4-6-4 (ooOOOoo) for smaller T-classes, to 4-10-4 (ooOOOOOoo) for bigger T-classes. A very few have a 4-12-4 (ooOOOOOOoo) configuration, but you will probably never see one of those; they are very rare and only travel a very select number of tunnels due to needing bigger gauge tracks. The 4-6-4’s up to 4-10-4’s can all travel on standard gauge tracks.

Some T-class Trains I have mentioned thus far (before I settled on this system, but it’s official now) have these configurations and ID numbers:
Kestrel: T-4-10-4, ID number T-25-400, home station (unknown)
Sevillian: T-4-8-4, ID number T-43-895, home station Madrid
Egret: T-4-8-4, ID number T-20-453, home station (unknown)
Siberian: T-4-12-4, ID number T-75-555, home station Novosibirsk

(‘take into’) possession – (adj) 1) When a segment of railway/track is faulty and/or a danger to use, the sleeper gang will take it into possession. During this time where the segment is in their possession the sleeper gang has the highest authority over how the segment is used. They can ask use to cease under this possession so they will be able to work without danger to themselves and the Trains if it’s a severe fault in the tracks, or ask Trains to slow down when travelling through the segment if it’s a minor safety concern.
“The gang took the section between B.75 to C.33 into possession for repairs.”
2) (expression, usually Prot. inf and Stew. inf) After the Council has called for trial and judgement and judgement has been passed, the Council will take the Protector or Steward in question into their possession for the judgement to be properly carried out.
“When they had passed judgement they took me into possession like I was a piece of broken track!”

terminus (station) – (pl. ‘termini’) A station at the end of a travelled line. Usually a bigger station town.

the right/wrong track – Usually almost always as a metaphor. The Trains are almost never on the wrong track.

three-band – (Prot. inf) Anyone who has reached a station where their uniform entitles them to three bands, such as Stewards, Yardmasters, Wardens and Guards. Quite often used condescendingly.
“What would a damned three-band know about real life?”
A version is ‘thrice-banded‘: “They’ve been trice-banded. There’s no hope for them.”
Thrice-banded has a connotation of it having been done to someone, as if they have been trapped and fettered against their will. A damned three-band deserves no pity, but someone thrice-banded might very well do.
Most Protectors will use the latter when referring to Stewards, not the former.

ticket – Not actually a ticket; it is more like a passport with a photograph and personal information that will be stamped by a travel office at a station as proof that a traveller has the right to be on a Train and for what duration and between what destinations. Must always be carried while on a Train and shown if asked to by for example a Protector or a Warden.

ticketer – (Prot. inf) A civilian traveller on a Train, who possesses a valid ticket stamp for the journey. Other crew and civilian groups refer to these people as ‘travellers’, not ‘ticketers’.

ticketless – (inf., usually Prot. inf. but also Stew. inf. only when speaking to Protectors) A civilian traveller who is on a Train without a valid ticket. These people will usually hide in the maintenance vehicles. How they get food is unknown; some might steal it or bring food along.
If found they are supposed to be removed from the Train (if in station) or taken into custody and sorted out, but in practice Protectors won’t give them trouble unless they cause trouble, because being a ticketless on a Train is not something done for fun. While ticketless are strictly speaking without legal rights on a Train, Protectors will often intervene and protect ticketless if they are attacked and are known to occasionally give them of food rations and medical supplies.
Despite this, ticketless will rarely take the risk and hide when Train crew is around unless they know the Protectors in question and at the least Protectors will pretend as if they don’t notice them being around as long as they can get away with it.
The only Train crew ticketless won’t habitually hide from is the maintenance crew, because they are considered safe people; they too will frequently help out when they can and often be less cautious about it than Protectors have to be. This is beneficial to everyone involved as ticketless will often seek the maintenance crew out to inform them if something is wrong instead of keeping silent about it.

titles – Used profusely whenever speaking to a person of another station than one’s own as a sign of respect, whether one actually respects the person in question or not. For example, in a conversation between a Steward and a Guard neither will use the other’s name, just their title. If they were to speak about a specific Warden, they would use said Warden’s title and name, in that order. Stewards tend to use title and name when speaking about other Stewards whether they are talking to other Stewards or not, and the only time they use only a name is when they are speaking in private to just another Steward and they know one another well.

A Steward will use a Protector’s title when speaking to them directly, only ever using just their name if he is most upset at them. Any Protector knows that a Steward referring to them by just their name is Bad News Indeed and will generally start thinking very carefully about their actions and manners if this happens. Worse yet would be if a Steward ever refer to them by the name they had before becoming a Protector: there would be no other reason for that except for the Protector having done something to utterly and permanently make their Steward lose all trust and faith in them. Best course of action here is probably to murder him and run, because it’s not like anything can get any worse from now on.
(He will not speak to you. He will not speak for you. He will never speak of you again.)
Protectors will always refer to one another by just name, unless another Protector has done something they don’t agree with: then they will use just the title. In formal situations they will use title and name or just title, even when speaking to other Protectors, especially if there are outsiders around.

Towerman – (A.C) Despite the name, these no longer have any towers to look out over the tracks with; instead they have cosy little huts in which they look at screens, deciphering numerical and alphabetical codes and times and dates. In Station Towns they are usually speaking in three different radios at the same time, coordinating with the Dispatcher, Trainmaster and Yardmaster. Occasionally starts speaking in code no one nearby can understand. Can speak fluid maintenance crew speak but never does so voluntarily. Probably dreams in black and console green when they get a moment to sleep.

Train – (A.C) Any number of rail vehicles pulled by a T-class steam locomotive. A T-class being operated without rolling stock is commonly referred to as a ‘heavy engine’, and not a Train.

train – Any number of rail vehicles pulled by a normal class steam locomotive. Their ID numbers or wheel set descriptions don’t have a T prefix, just a number. Used for everything from moving cargo and personnel within a yard, to the maintenance trains used by the sleeper gang. Most of these travel on narrow tracks; in the tunnels these smaller trains will generally travel on the tracks used for the maintenance vehicles attached to a T-class train, since they are too small for normal gauge tracks.

trainday (or train day) – (n) A measurement of distance, based on the average distance an average T- class locomotive with an average load of rolling stock will travel in a day.

Trainmaster – (A.C) Responsible for everything having to do with the Trains as soon as they station. They are responsible for – in cooperation with the Guard – to configure them and make sure all the cargo is loaded and unloaded and that the travellers end up where they’re supposed to. They are responsible for any Guards who pass through the station or originate from it.
In coordination with the on-Train and yard-bound maintenance crews they inspect the incoming Trains for damage and make up plans for repairs and making sure the crews have all the material needed for them. They also inspect all outgoing Trains before departure to make sure they leave in good shape and are safe for operation.
Also in charge of civilian crew assignments and management in the cooperation with the Chief of On-Board Services and Chief Surgeon, for crew disciplinary actions for minor to medium offences, and to launch investigations in the case of derailments and apparent or suspected sabotage, together with the Road Foreman of Engines. Responsible for extensive reporting to the Council about the states of the Trains and for sending off serious offenders to them.

Train songs – (Maint.) A particular form of hiss-singing, these are songs that are specific for the Train and/or a maintenance crew on a particular Train. These will vary from Train to Train since maintenance crew tend to be more or less fully loyal to their chosen Train and aren’t as eager to move around as Protectors or Wardens or other crew might be. There are also songs taught only after a specific time aboard, and thus there are secret songs only shared amongst the most experienced members of the crew.
Being taught the songs of their home Train is a great honour and immense sign of respect on the part of the more experienced crew. The Train specific songs is are the highest mark of belonging to and acceptance of the resident maintenance crew group.
Since maintenance crew do socialise over Train borders when in station or when crossing paths, they often learn to recognise the songs and stories of other Trains and groups and more experienced maintenance workers can often place which Train someone is from by the songs they’re singing, but they would never sing the song of another Train uninvited even if they knew it.
In a few rare cases they will teach outsiders some of the more common songs. Such cases might be to show deep appreciation for someone who has consistently gone above and beyond their responsibilities to help; gratitude towards someone who has saved a maintenance worker’s life; or just someone they know very, very well and they respect immensely.

transit – 1) (usually a metaphor) ex. ‘Lost in transit’. Also used to denote not having reached a decision/conclusion/made up one’s mind. “I’m still in transit on that one.”
2) (metaphor) A change between two stations in life/being.
“He’s in transit from Steward to Councillor.”

trial and judgementOh, aren’t you in trouble now… Trial and judgement is the worst thing, haven’t you heard? The things they will do to you, oh, the things they will do to you..!

trolley problem – (In the Trainworld more commonly known as ‘the runaway carriage problem’, but I’ll use the more common real-world name here) A thought experiment in ethics, existing in many different variations. In the most commonly used case, it goes like this:
A runaway carriage is speeding down a track in the yard, unable to stop. On this track ahead of it are five people incapable of moving to safety before it will collide with them. By the sheer power of happenstance you happen to be standing some way off by the switch for that track, and you can alter the track it will go down if you wish to do so, but on the other track is another person who would also be unable to escape in time. The question is; would you or would you not use the switch to alter the runaway carriage’s course?
Stewards are very fond of asking prospective Protectors this question, and many variations thereof to get to know them better. There really isn’t any right answer to this, as far as a Steward is concerned, just better and worse reasons, and your reasons better be good ones.

Truthseeker – (A.C) No good will come of you knowing. Don’t ask us this question again, and instead hope you never have to know the answer.

underdome – 1) Any place or piece of land that is covered by a dome, such as a station town, a Yard or an outpost.
2) (metaphorical) Encompassing very place that a human being can inhabit, including underground settlements and tunnels.
(Not unlike we talk about how people live all over the world, disregarding that most of the world is ocean and that few people actually inhabit the ocean.)

uniform design and terms – When describing a uniform, one will use specific terms and a description of the colours and elements of a particular uniform is called a ‘blazon‘ or ‘blazoning‘, like when one is describing different insignias.

All uniforms have one solid base colour known as ‘base‘, and this will be the first colour listed in the blazon. In the ends of the sleeves and trouser legs there are generally ribbons/lines commonly known as ‘bands‘, each one also a solid colour, but these bands do not have to be all of the same colour.
Most uniforms will have at least one band, but for crew in training bands might be lacking; two is common, and three bands are only for stations in which the wearer has responsibility for looking over other crews or important resources.
Down the front there is another ribbon/line, commonly known as the ‘pillar‘, which will also go around the bottom edge of the coat.
The buttons will be divided into two smaller buttons up on the collar, and bigger buttons down the front of the pillar. These will all have the same colour.
Bands are listed as viewed from above when the arms are hanging down at ease and the same goes for the bands at the bottom of the trouser legs. With very few exceptions at least one of the bands are of the same colour as the pillar. At least one of the colours of the collar lines, referred to as ‘lines‘ are always the same as the pillar, and with few exceptions both will be.

Three examples of blazonings would be:
Warden– Black, pillared blue and thrice banded blue, gold and blue, buttoned gold, lined blue.
Road Foreman of Engines – Dark blue, pillared blue and thrice banded gold, green and blue, buttoned silver, lined blue.
Guard – White, pillared and thrice banded gold, buttoned silver, lined gold.

Wall of the Fallen – (A.C.; always with definite article) A wall in the entrance hall of every Agency where the Agency puts up all the ID cards of Protectors from that Agency who have died on duty. The cards are put on the wall as a token of honour and Protectors passing by or returning for a while almost always go there to pay their respects and look for faces they know (or knew), especially if from the same Agency as them.
There is also a separate wall for Stewards, usually found upstairs by the office area, although it will not have ID cards since Stewards don’t have ID cards. It will just have the names and the time the Steward served at the Agency etched into a metal sheet and put up on the wall. This is what happens if a Steward dies – or is given the position as a Councillor, since for all intents and purposes this is also a form of death.

Warden – (A.C) Under the Guard in rank and answering mainly to their Guard, their responsibilities mostly involve the safety and well-being of the travellers and crew in an organisational manner. They also advice and guide the Protectors in their routine work.
Usually former yard-bound crew like porters or other people-tending roles who have decided to go out and see the world. Some later become Guards themselves, even if this is very rare.
All Wardens have five letter names.

yardhands – Collective term for (almost) all workers working in a yard, whether they are sweepers or washers or Signalmen or whatnot.
Fun Fact: People like the Yardmaster and Trainmaster are not considered yardhands. The Road Foreman of Engines is considered one, because he refuses to not be considered one and if you suggest maybe he’s not he’ll probably slowly wipe oil and soot out of his face and reach for a pipe wrench while glaring at you in quite some contempt, so you probably shouldn’t.

Yardmaster – (A.C) The person in charge of the yard and all the yard-bound crew and manage the activities on the yard, such as switching traffic to the right tracks as Trains come in and leave, instructing Drivers where to go, deciding where to put defective/malfunctioning Train segments for repairs. Nothing happens in the yard that they don’t know about. In charge of coordination between the Towermen and the Dispatchers, and the Drivers, confirming the destinations and departure times of all outgoing Trains, also making sure incoming Trains are ready to be met by yard crew for smooth arrival and transfer of duties.
They also document revenue from ticket sales and of how many travellers use which Trains and lines and in cooperation with the Council they make up time tables for incoming traffic, and they document accidents and delays on the yard, observing the emergency protocol for managing routes and schedules even in the face of disaster.

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