Roger Ford explains …..
When I started writing about the railways full time in 1976 I soon ran into acronym problems. I had been away from the railways for 10 years, a period during which acronyms exploded.
Interviewing senior managers, they would refer to one of the very clever acronyms which British Rail was so good at, like LOVERS and RAVERS, and, not wanting to expose my lack of experience I would try to decode the references afterwards. As I gained confidence I started to ask what an acronym meant – and soon discovered that the boot was on the other foot - because they didn't know either.
In Modern Railways we have a golden rule, every time an acronym is used in an article for the first time we spell it out too, like this
But other publications are not so punctilious and, of course, in conversation it doesn't happen.
And the precise meaning of acronyms can be important. Take the highly topical HLOS. People often refer, incorrectly, to the High Level Output Statement. The ‘S' is for Specification and a specification is not the same as a statement – particularly if you are the Transport Secretary.
So welcome to TRAC. I think it covers all the commonly used acronyms currently in use, but please point out any gaps. New ones will be added as soon as they emerge, making TRAC the most up to date Acronym Buster in the railway industry.
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