Glossary of Terms


Navigate the Glossary either via the interactive search or filter by alphabet or number.

Fabricated Crossing
A crossing manufactured from machined and set rails separated by blocks and suitably fastened as a unit.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Facing (direction)
The direction of rail traffic over points where the train meets the toe of the switch rail first.

Preferred
Disciplines: Train Control
Facing Movement
A wheel set movement through a set of points from the toe end to the heel end i.e. a movement of a train over points which are facing points for the direction in which the train is moving.

Preferred
Disciplines: Train Control, Operations
Facing Point Lock (economical)
A facing point lock mechanically operated by the same lever that operates the point switches (as distinct from a facing point lock operated by a separate lever).

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control, Infrastructure
Facing Point Lock (FPL)
A mechanical means of physically locking points so they cannot be moved, may be provided independently or incorporated in a point machine.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control, Infrastructure
Facing Point Lock Bar
A lifting bar to prevent the unlocking of facing points while a train is passing over them.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control, Infrastructure
Facing Point Lock Test
A test generally carried out by inserting an obstruction gauge between the stockrail and the closing switch of facing points to confirm that the facing point lock of the point operating mechanism cannot complete its operation and to confirm that the points detection indicates that the points are not safe for the passage of trains.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control, Infrastructure
Facing Points
Points with the switch blades facing approaching rail traffic.

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
Fail-safe
The capability of an item or a system to ensure that any failure in a predictable or specified mode will result only in that item or system reaching and remaining in a safe condition.

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
Failure Mode And Effects Analysis (FMEA)
A procedure by which potential failure modes in a technical system are analysed. An FMEA can be extended to perform what is called failure modes, effects and critical analysis (FMECA). In a FMECA, each failure mode identified is ranked according to the combined influence of its likelihood of occurrence and the severity of its consequences.

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
False Clear
A condition where a train detection section indicates the line is unoccupied when it is occupied by a train.

Non-preferred
Disciplines: Train Control
Refer wrong side failure
Alternative
Disciplines: Train Control
False Proceed
A proceed authority issued in unsafe or potentially unsafe conditions.

Non-preferred
Disciplines: Train Control
Refer Wrong side failure
Alternative
Disciplines: Train Control
Fastening, Rail Fastening, Joint Fastening
This definition is for rail fastenings, of which there are two main types:
Rail fastening: A combination of baseplates and fasteners used to attach the rail to the bearer that may include spikes, pads, clips, insulators and anchors or proprietary fastening systems such as Pandrol and Rex; or
Joint fastening: The fishplates and fastenings utilised to join rails together.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fatigue
The term fatigue could refer to either:
1. Fatigue of a worker from bodily or mental exertion; or
2. Fatigue of a material that is the weakening of material subjected to stress.

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
Fault Tree Analysis
A systems engineering method for representing the logical combinations of various system states and possible causes which can contribute to a specified event (called the top event).

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
FDM
Frequency Division Multiplex


Disciplines:
Abbreviated term for 'frequency division multiplex'.
Alternative
Disciplines: Train Control
Feeder
A transmission line conductor or cable in the electrical power system.

Preferred
Disciplines: Electrical
Feeder Station
A building containing electrical equipment to which the traction power supplies from the electricity authority are brought, and from which the overhead line system is fed.

Preferred
Disciplines: Electrical
Female Half (crossing)
Refer to Nose Rail.

Alternative
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Related Term: Nose Rail
Fender Vehicle
A vehicle placed next to a loaded vehicle to provide additional protection or clearance for extended loads or dangerous goods.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock, Operations
Fibre-optic Indicator
An indicator using optical fibres to provide the required illuminated indication.
Uses include standard and miniature alphanumeric route indicators, close doors, right away and off indicators.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Fibre-optic Signal
A colour light signal that uses fibre-optic technology to combine the red, yellow and green aspects into one aperture to generate the appropriate aspect.
Other uses include banner and position light signals.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Field Blocking
Vital blocking which makes use of a vital relay located at the controlled point or remote controlled interlocking.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Field Lubricated Bearings
Bearings that require lubricant to be added during the service period.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock
Field Side Of Rail
The side of the rail opposite the gauge face.

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
Field Welding
The welding of rails in, or beside the track by any welding process.

Legacy
Disciplines: Infrastructure
First Caution
A signal which gives the driver the first indication of a need to stop at a signal ahead.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Refer Caution (Aspect) and Preliminary Caution (Aspect).
Alternative
Disciplines: Train Control
First Wheel Replacement
A control applied to a signal which replaces it to its most restrictive aspect immediately after the front of the train has passed that signal.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Refer Last Wheel Replacement.
Alternative
Disciplines: Train Control
Fishbolt
An oval neck bolt used for fastening fish plates (with oval holes) at joints.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fishing Angle
The slope of the underside of the head or top side of the flange of the rail.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fishing Face
The sloped face under the head or on top of the flange of the rail.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fishplate
A steel component normally used in pairs for the purpose of joining rail ends together.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fishplate Bond
Provided to ensure electrical continuity between two rails mechanically connected.

Regional
Disciplines: Electrical
Fishplates, Junction
Fishplates designed to provide connection and support to rails of different sections.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fishplates, Weld Repair
Fishplates designed to provide clearance at rail welds. These fish plates are utilised at defective or suspect welds to provide rail joining in the event of a weld failure.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fit For Purpose
Able to be used for the required function.

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
Five Foot
A term used to identify the area between the rails of broad gauge track.

Legacy
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fixed Block
A train separation system based on the segmentation of the track into a series of blocks. It is intended that a space consisting of one or more blocks is to exist between trains.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Fixed Distant Signal
A distant signal that is only capable of displaying a caution.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Refer to Distant Board.
Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Related Term: Distant Board
Fixed Heel Points
Points which utilise permanently fastened heel blocks. Localised flexing of the switch occurs ahead of the fixed heel and the switch rail continues beyond the heel.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fixed Nose Vee
A vee where the nose of the vee is fixed. Most conventional vees are fixed nose.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fixed Point
A point or location in the track where the rail is fixed and cannot move longitudinally relative to the sleepers and ballast. This may include such locations as turnouts, level crossings and transition points from dog spiked timber sleepered track to resilient fastened concrete sleepered track.
or
Third rail crossingwork designed to permit the standard gauge or broad gauge track to turn out. The diverge move is effected by the use of ramped manganese blocks on which the wheel flange runs and guard rails.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fixed Signal
A signal that is permanently located near the line.

Preferred
Disciplines: Train Control, Operations
Fixed Worksite
A worksite with boundaries that are fixed and defined for the duration of the work.

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
Flag Attendant
A person appointed to exhibit hand signals.

Regional
Disciplines: Operations
Flangeway
Gap between the running edge of the rail and any adjacent rail or feature which restricts the available movement of the wheel flange.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Flangeway Points
The gap between the back of the open switch and the running face of the stockrail to allow passage of the wheel flange.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Flangeway Width
The distance between the running and guarding surfaces of crossingwork or crossingwork assembly.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Flank Points
Points which, if traversed by an overrunning train in the facing direction, could direct that train away from a route or overlap that has been set for an authorised train movement.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Flank Protection
Protection from overrunning movements approaching on converging tracks, usually by additional point interlocking or train detection.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Flare
The tapering widening at the ends of the flangeways to gradually engage wheel flanges and position them to pass through flangeways.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Flash Butt Weld
The fusion welding of rail ends by electric arc heating and contact under high pressure.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Flasher Relay
A relay so designed that, when energised, its contacts open and close at pre-determined intervals. Flasher relay contacts may be mechanical or electronic.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Flashing Beacon
Rotating beacon light or strobe light.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock
Flashing Double Yellow (aspect)
Displayed by a colour light signal, informs the driver to expect the next main signal at flashing single yellow.

Overseas
Disciplines: Train Control
Flashing Single Yellow (aspect)
A preliminary caution displayed by a colour light signal informing the driver to expect the next main signal at single yellow with junction indicator set for a diverging route.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Flat
Term could be abbrevaition for either:
1. Flat-rack or platform base container;
or
2. Flat wagon - a wagon with a full width substantially flat deck, without side walls and with or without stanchions, bulkheads and other load support and restraint systems. Without container securing devices, used for general purpose freight carriage.

Non-preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock
Flat Spot
Refer to Flat Wheel.

Non-preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock
Related Term: Flat Wheel
Flat Wheel
Loss of roundness of the tread of a wheel usually caused by wheelslip or wheel slide.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock
Flat Wheel Detector
Detects the presence of a flattened wheel surface on a passing train by detecting the vibration produced by the impact occurring as the flat portion comes into contact with the rail surface at each revolution of the wheel.
Also known as a 'wheel impact detector'.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Fleeting Mode
A controlled automatic signal operating as an automatic signal is said to be operating in Fleeting Mode.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Flexible Switch
A continuous point switch that is 'heel-less'; with the heel block bolted solidly through the switch.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
FMEA
Failure Mode and Effects Analysis


Disciplines:
Focusing
Alignment of a signal to provide train drivers with acceptable sighting of signal indications.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control, Operations
Fog Signal
refer Railway Track Signal

Legacy
Disciplines: Operations, Train Control
Foot
The base or foot of the rail

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Foot Crossing
Refer to Pedestrian Crossing.

Non-preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Related Term: Pedestrian Crossing
Forced Drop Lock
An electric lock in which the locking member is mechanically forced down to the locked position.

Preferred
Disciplines: Electrical
Formation
The full width of the top of embankments or the bottom of cuttings upon which the track is constructed.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Foul
In a position to obstruct rail traffic on an adjacent line.

Preferred
Disciplines: ALL Disciplines
Foul Ballast
Ballast that is contaminated by mud or similar material

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Fouling Bar
A mechanically operated form of train detection activated by the flange of a wheel.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Fouling Point
The position on a siding or secondary track beyond which a vehicle will foul the structure gauge of the main track.

Non-preferred
Disciplines: Train Control, Operations
Refer to Clearance Point
Alternative
Disciplines: Train Control, Operations
Related Term: Clearance Point
Fouling Track Circuit
A track circuit near where lines converge or cross and where a train (including the overhang of the train) on the track circuit could be within the clearance point with other lines.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Four Aspect Signalling
A system of colour light signalling which provides red, yellow, double yellow and green aspects in a manner which normally provides a first caution at least two signals before a signal at red.

Overseas
Disciplines: Train Control
Refer to 4 Aspect Block.
Alternative
Disciplines: Train Control
Related Term: 4 Aspect Block
FPL
Facing Point Lock


Disciplines:
Free Curving
Condition where only the leading wheelset of a bogie or rigid vehicle wheelbase is in flange contact in a curve.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock
Free Welding
Welding without the use of a rail tensor. It is most commonly the joining of short rails into long rail strings before destressing.

Preferred
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Free-wired Interlocking
A relay interlocking that comprises individually wired relays rather than prewired sets.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Freight Rolling Stock
Hauled rolling stock used to transport goods, materials, etc.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock
Frequency Division Multiplex (FDM)
A data transmission system that uses unique frequencies to separate channels over a single pair of conductors.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Frequency Shift Key (FSK)
Abbreviation for 'frequency shift key'.

Alternative
Disciplines: Rolling Stock
Fringe Signal Box
The first signal box located along a line beyond the boundary of a controlled area.

Overseas
Disciplines: Train Control
Frog
Refer to Crossing.

Alternative
Disciplines: Infrastructure
Related Term: Crossing
Front Contact
That contact of a relay which is closed (made) only when the relay is energised (picked-up).

Regional
Disciplines: Electrical
Front Rod
The bar or rod connecting the point switches to which the drive is coupled.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control, Infrastructure
FSK
Frequency Shift Key


Disciplines:
Fulfil
To complete the instructions on, and associated activities for, an Occupancy Authority.

Preferred
Disciplines: Train Control, Operations
Full Continuity Test (FC)
An air brake examination that confirms the train crew has control of the train by testing that there is brake pipe pressure throughout the train.

Preferred
Disciplines: Operations
Full Overlap
An overlap of at least 180 m (or 400 m where both the stop signal and the preceding caution signal are both semaphore signals).

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Full Service Brake Application
A full brake application in the normal operating mode, without using the emergency position.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock, Operations
Full Train Examination (FX1)
Performed by examining staff after final marshalling of non tested loading, prior to commencement of journey consisting of:
full mechanical examination;
complete air brake test;
brake pipe leakage test; (part of air brake test)
issue of a train examiners certificate for interstate freight trains.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock, Operations
Full Train Examination (FX2)
Performed by rail traffic crew when examining staff are unavailable after final marshalling and attachment of locomotive to non tested loading, prior to commencement of journey consisting of:
- general mechanical examination;
- complete train air brake test.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock, Operations
Full Train Inspection (FX)
An examination which checks the mechanical condition of all vehicles in the train, confirms the security of all loads and equipment on the train, and confirms the correct operation of the braking system throughout the train. It also identifies any vehicles on the train with non-functioning brakes, and checks the make up of the train and confirms that it is consistent with safe and efficient operations of the train.

Preferred
Disciplines: Rolling Stock, Operations
Function Test To Control Tables
This is the operation of the equipment from the control panel, keyboard, levers, switches, or VDU (Visual Display Unit) to verify that the system operates safely in accordance with the electrical interlocking and controls incorporated in the design drawings, namely the control tables.

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control
Functional Safety
The capacity of a safeworking system to maintain safe train operation with protection against unsafe outcomes due to failure of:
- system software
- system hardware
- signaller-driver communication
- signaller analysis or decision making
- driver comprehension, judgement or response

Regional
Disciplines: Train Control