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Commonly used abbreviations

As with most industries, railways have a set of frequently used abbreviations that are obvious to those in the industry, but might as well be a foreign language to many outside it. Below are set out some examples. It is not intended to be a comprehensive list of every obscure abbreviation in use somewhere but more a list of abbreviations that the public may come across. Please feel free to , bearing that proviso in mind.
Abbr. Explanation
A suffix Coaching Stock Fitted with Pullman Adaptors
AB Absolute block
AB (PF) Absolute block with permissive working
ABCL Automatic Barrier Crossing with road warning lights and barriers monitored by train crew
AHBC Automatic Half-barrier Crossing
AOCL Automatic Open Crossing with road warning lights, monitored by train crew
AOCR Automatic Open Crossing with road warning lights, remotely monitored
ART Articulated Stock
ASB Adjacent signal box
ASC Aluminium-stainless Steel Conductor Rail
ASC Area Signalling Centre
ATC Automatic Train Control
ATO Automatic Train Operation
ATP Automatic Train Protection
ATOC Association of Train Operating Companies
ATWS Automatic Track Warning System
AVI Automatic Vehicle Identification
AWB Advance Warning Board
AWI Advance Warning Indicator
AWS Automatic Warning System
B Bogie Passenger Brake (No Gangway)
BC Composite Non-Corridor Brake
BCK Composite Corridor Brake
BCL Composite Non-Corridor Brake (Lavatory)
BD Braking Distance
BF First Class Non-Corridor Brake
BFL First Class Non-Corridor Brake (Lavatory)
BFK First Class Corridor Brake
BG Bogie Passenger Brake (Gangway)
BGZ 6-Wheel Passenger Brake (Gangway)
BM Milk Van (Braked Passenger Stock)
BP Pigeon Van (Braked Passenger Stock)
BR Banner Repeating Signal
BRB British Railways Board
BRO Engineering train's Unfitted Goods Brake Van
BS Second Class Non-Corridor Brake
BSK Second Class Corridor Brake
BSL Second Class Non-Corridor Brake (Lavatory)
BSO Second Class Open Brake
BT Third Class Non-Corridor Brake
BTC British Transport Commission
BTET Blocked to Electric Trains/Traction
BTK Third Class Corridor Brake
BTL Third Class Non-Corridor Brake (Lavatory)
BTO Third Class Open Brake
BTP British Transport Police
BU&T Built Up and Timbered
BY 4-Wheel Passenger Brake
BZ 6-Wheel Passenger Brake (No Gangway)
C Composite Non-Corridor Stock
CAF Cafeteria Car
C&P Clipped and Padlocked
CARINO Car Identification Number
CCBC Cast Centre Block Crossing
CCE Chief Civil Engineer
CCT Covered Carriage Truck
CDM Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1984
CE Civil Engineer
CET Controlled emission toilet discharge
CIO Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways
CL Composite Non-Corridor Stock (Lavatory)
CIS Customer information system
CK Composite Corridor Stock
CO Composite Open Stock
COSHH Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988
CRE Conductor Rail Equipment
CRE Contractor's Responsible Engineer
CRT Critical Rail Temperature
CRS Continuous Route Signage
CSR Cab Secure Radio
CS&CE Chief Signal and Telecommunications Engineer
CTO Open Carriage Truck
CTR1 Channel Tunnel Route 1 (via Sevenoaks)
CTR2 Channel Tunnel Route 2 (via Maidstone)
CTR3 Channel Tunnel Route 3 (via Redhill and Tonbridge)
CTRL Channel Tunnel Rail Link
CWR Continuously Welded Rail
DCE Divisional Civil Engineer
DE Diesel-electric
DEMU Diesel-electric Multiple Unit
DH Diesel-hydraulic
DHMU Diesel-hydraulic Multiple Unit
DMMU Diesel-mechanical Multiple Unit
DOO Driver Only Operation
DOO (NP) Driver Only Operation (non-passenger)
DRA Driver's Reminder Appliance
EBS Emergency Brake Switch
ECS Empty Coaching Stock
EKT Electric Key Token
ELR Engineer's Line Reference
EMU Electric multiple-unit
ERTMS European Rail Traffic Management System
ET Electronic block
ETCS European Train Control System
ETS Electric Train Staff
ETT Electric Train Tablet
F First Class Non-Corridor Stock
FCC First Capital Connect
FL First Class Non-Corridor Stock (Lavatory)
FK First Class Corridor Stock
FO First Class Open Stock
FOC Freight Operating Company
FPL Facing Point Lock
GBRf First GB Railfreight Ltd
GUV Bogie General Utility Van
HB Horse Box
HMRI Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate
HSE Health & Safety Executive
Abbr. Explanation
IBS Intermediate Block Signal
IECC Integrated Electronic Control Centre
IMC Infrastructure maintenance company
IRSE Institute of Railway Signal Engineers
ITR International Train Radio
KSW Kent, Sussex and Wessex Routes (ie was the "Southern Region")
LC Level Crossing (or Line Clear)
LE Light Engine
LMD Light Maintenance Depot
LOROL London Overground Rail Operations Ltd
LVT Last Vehicle Treadle
MCB Staffed (was manned) level crossing with barriers operated locally by signaller or crossing keeper
MCG Staffed (was manned) level crossing with gates operated locally by signaller or crossing keeper
MPD Motive Power Depot
MWL Miniature Warning Lights
NB No block
NCC National Control Centre
NR Network Rail
NRIL Network Rail Infrastructure Limited
NSTR No signaller token with remote crossing loops
NWR Normal Working Resumed
OC Open Crossing without gates, barriers or warning lights
OES One Engine in Steam
OHNS Overhead line neutral section
OLE Overhead line equipment
ORR Office of Rail Regulation
OTM On-track machines
OTNS One train working where no staff is provided
OTS One train working where staff is provided
OTW One train working
PICOP Person in charge of possession
PICOW Person in charge of work
PIS Passenger information system
PMV Parcels & Miscellaneous Van
POS Post Office Sorting Van
POT Post Office Tender
PP Push Pull or Pull and Push
PSB Power signal box
PWI The Permanent Way Institute
RA Right away (as in RA Indicator) or Route availability
RAIB Rail Accident Investigation Branch
RB Buffet Car
RC Composite Restaurant Kitchen Car
RCO Composite Open Restaurant Car
RF First Class Restaurant Kitchen Car
RFOA Rail Freight Operators Association
RFO First Class Open Restaurant Car
R/G Red/green warning lights (at a level crossing)
RK Kitchen Car
RKB Kitchen / Buffet Car
RKF Restaurant / Cafeteria Car
RMB Restaurant / Miniature Buffet Car
RSO Second Class Open Restaurant Car
ROSCO Rolling Stock Leasing Company
RPO Revenue Protection Office (was TTI)
RT / RS Third / Second Class Restaurant Kitchen Car
RTP / RSP Third / Second Class Pantry Car
RTO Third Class Open Restaurant Car
RTS Triplet Restaurant Kitchen Car
RU Either Class Restaurant Kitchen Car
S Second Class Non-Corridor Stock
SB Signal Box
S&C Switches and Crossings
SCV Special Cattle Van
SDO Selective Door Operation
Semi-FO Semi-open First Class Stock
SF First Class Saloon
SI Invalid Saloon
SIMBIDS Simplified Bi-Directional Signalling
SK Second Class Corridor Stock
SL Second Class Non-Corridor Stock (Lavatory)
SLC Composite Sleeping Car
SLF First Class Sleeping Car
SLT / SLS Third / Second Class Sleeping Car
SLTP Third Second Class Sleeping Car with Attendant
SMS Safety Management System
SO Second Class Open Stock
SPAD Signal passed at danger
SRA Strategic Rail Authority
ST / SS Third / Second Class Saloon
SWT South West Trains
T Third Class Non-Corridor Stock
TB Tokenless block
TC Track circuit
TCB Track circuit block
T-COD Track circuit operating devices
TEU Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (a measure of freight train length)
TL Third Class Non-Corridor Stock (Lavatory)
TMO Traincrew operated crossing
TMST Transmanche Super Train (ie Eurostar. Abbreviation used on certain lineside signs)
TBSO Tourist Second Class Open Brake
TBTO Tourist Third Class Open Brake
TOC Train Operating Company (passenger)
TOL Train On Line
TOWS Train-operated warning system
TPWS Train protection and warning system
T&RS Traction & rolling stock
TSO Tourist Second Class Open Stock
TSR Temporary speed restriction
TST Train staff and ticket
TTI Travelling Ticket Inspector
TTO Tourist Third Class Open Stock
TO Third Class Open Stock
TWA Transport & Works ACT
UWB User-worked crossing with barriers
UWC User-worked crossing
WTT Working Timetable
Some abbreviations used in Loco Duties (and some of these in Working Timetables).
Abbr. Explanation
A Engine Prepared
AR Assisting Required
ANR Assisting not Required
C Coaching
E Empty Train
Abbr. Explanation
F Freight
M Milk Train
O/R On rear
P Passenger Train
PO Pull Out
Abbr. Explanation
Q Conditional
SRE Shunt Release Engine
V Vans
|| Light Engine
** Time Uncertain

This page was last updated 23rd October 2009

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