Empty tracks are shown against the cityscape of Toronto.

What the heck is a ‘rail frog’ and ‘deadheading’? Take our transit jargon quiz

Every industry and occupation uses utterances that are unusual or unique. The Metrolinx world is no difference. But we’d like to explain some of the slang better.

We know. Sometimes we can be a bit confusing.

The words we use. The expressions we come up with.

We can leave you scratching your heads.

But we blame our upbringing. Down through time, the transit industry – especially the part that involves trains – has had its own particular phrases and acronyms. Over the years, we’ve taken them for granted, even as they’ve made for some confusing moments as we’ve told stories to our families over the dinner table.

And since, more and more, we’re inviting you into our world to explore behind-the-scenes and get a better understanding of what’s involved in getting you from here to way over there, it’s only fair that we all understand one another.

So we’re trying, whenever possible, to break down technical terms and expand on jargon that’s part of our public transit vocabulary.

To start, we’d like to put you to the test, as well as introduce you to perhaps some new phrases. Take our quiz, and then start using the terms with family and friends. Even share with us through social media, how well you did. Perhaps people will be impressed with your new and expanded vocabulary. Or just stare at you blankly, as our own families often do.

What is a railroad frog?
A mechanical installation enabling trains to be guided from one track to another
Correct, keep hoppin’ along.
Equipment that makes trains leap from one gear to another
Nope, trains don’t leap gears.
The nickname given to an engineer who fixes track switches
Nice try but no, nobody wants to be called that.
What is a rolling stock?
A collective term for a large range of rail vehicles of various types. 
Merchandise that are being transported by a train
The value of a rail company of the Toronto Stock Exchange
What is a rail consist?
A group of rail vehicles which make up a train
Correct. Have you been training for this quiz?
A network that consists of tracks
No. The answer is not in the title.
A train that consistently uses the same track  
What is a train cab ?
Crew compartment of a locomotive
You got it.
  A vehicle you grab after taking the train
No, but we do have some pretty cool ride-sharing partnerships.
The part of the train that has a private cabin for guests
That’s a no… But who knows, maybe one day .
What is Ballast? 
The stones spread on the ground holding the track in line
Great answer, you rock!
A beam along the tracks that supports the train
Nope, we can’t support you with this answer.
A lighting system that guides the trains.
It’s a bright idea, but no.
What is Autoload?
A feature on your PRESTO card that allows you to add funds automatically
Correct. You’ve really tapped into your PRESTO knowledge.
A feature that connects you PRESTO card to your automobile’s GPS
A feature on your PRESTO card that allows you to automatically load your trip logs
Not to be dramatic, but OMG, you’re seriously incorrect.
What is a bus-bridge?
A temporary system of shuttle buses
Bingo! You’re right.
A bridge that supports the weight and height of a GO Bus 
  Nope. We can’t support you with this answer
A piece of equipment that connect two different buses together
You’re not connecting the right dots because you’re wrong.
What is Deadheading? 
A transit vehicle travelling while not in service
Correct, you’re dead on!
A train that is parked at the dead end of a track
You’ve just booked a one-way ticket to Wrongsville
Grateful Dead Fans taking the train to a concert
The Eglinton Crosstown project features which type of vehicle?
Light Rail Vehicles (LRV)
That’s right, you don’t take this quiz lightly eh?
Light Rail Trains (LRT)
Nope. LRT stands for Light Rail Transit
Light Rail Streetcars (LRS)

Now that you’ve taken the quiz, how’d you do? Share your results, as well as this quiz on social media.