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Railroad Nicknames and Slogans

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An early slogan, Sunset Route, appeared in the Galveston (Texas) Daily News, August 2, 1874

Almost every railroad, through time, has been known by more than one name. The official corporate name is usually only one variation. Many alternate names are simply shortened versions of the true name. (The "New Haven") Some alternate names are those adopted by the company itself to enhance its public image. ("The Water Level Route") Then there is the humor. The usually derisive play on the name or the initials. (C&NW, "Cheap and Nothing Wasted") Occasionally these are affectionate, but rarely.

Two R&LHS members, Paul Veltman and Eugene Lewis, have been compiling collections of these alternate names for many years. We present here their combined efforts. When their respective lists were compared, it was found that there was a large area of overlap, but each had many that had escaped the other. For some entries, the "Ref" column provides a link to an explanation of the derivation of the alternate name. These are the result of Paul's research over the years.

Users might want to look up the alternate names for a known railroad name, or on the other hand may have heard a company referred to by its nickname, and want to know its "real" name. Hence there are two lists here, sorted out in order of official name and nickname.

We will welcome any contributions to add to this list, from either members of the Society or non-members. But please, no new "made up" names. We have tried to restrict this list only to those names known to have been in use within the railroad community, or referred to in print. Accordingly, please, in submitting any new suggestions, give a citation as to where you saw it in print. Also solicited are the stories behind the alternate names.

Sorted by Railroad Name

Sorted by Railroad Nickname