Apr. 28th, 2017

plonq: (Trying to be cute)
I was filling in some details on a data dictionary for a co-worker for whom I’d built a data extractor. For the most part that just involved going down the column names, identifying the data types, and giving a brief explanation on what the data represented.

While I am used to a lot of our industry acronyms (SCAC, FSAC, SPLC, etc), I took the time to expand them out for her in the explanations (“Standard Carrier Alpha Code”, “Freight Station Accounting Number”, “Standard Point Location Code”, etc). All was well until I got to a number that we use internally for referencing trains within our integrated operating plan.

The number has always had an odd name, and I have always assumed that the name was an acronym for something. The system that uses it has been in place for the past 25 years ( remember when it came online back in ’92), but even though I have always known what the number was for, it occurred to me that I never knew what it was short for.

As I started asking around, it became clear that nobody else know either.

It may be that the only people who could tell us if this was an arbitrary name, or an acronym are either retired, or dead. I have a couple more long-shots that I am going to pursue on Monday to see if they can answer the question, but I have a hunch this will remain a mystery until the day I retire. Technically I’ve become one of the old-timers at the railway who is supposed to know these kinds of things.

And I don’t know. I guess this gives me the opportunity to make something up…

July 2017

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