Railroad Jargon

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New Member
I'm not sure which Forum to ask this question. I've been listening to BNSF Vancouver Terminal on RailroadRadio.net. I hear the terms "Tail to Hill", "drill" & "poke" a lot, & am curious, what they are referring to...
thanks for any info...

Ballard Beaver

ballard beaver
tail to hill is a phrase particular to vancouver, who knows maybe they have it in a couple other places, it refers to two tracks in the yard, the tail track and the hill track. you would need to be in the yard and listening on a scanner and you would see exactly which tracks they are talking about.

the drill track is like a switching lead, it is the track that unifies all the tracks in the switching yard. so a switch job that is putting cars onto various tracks will be making forward and reverse movements along the drill track as it does its switching. do a google search for 'drill track'

a 'poke' is a movement made by an engine, often while it is switching, where it just 'pokes' out past a certain signal. so say a "poke" at 39th (in vancouver) is where they only briefly need the signal at 39th so they can edge out past the signal and then reverse back into the yard.

Ballard Beaver

ballard beaver
i think it means, to a train coming in to town on the main line, that there arent any switch engines or other folks in the way.


Johnny Lunchmeat
useful stuff. what does the phrase "no track breach in effect" tell us?

That no one has track breach in effect. Track breach is used by TE&Y employees when they will be walking/working between two tracks and they are not on the field side or a roadway is between the two tracks.

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