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Sidings and Spurs

Newbie to the hobby Darren asks:

“Is track that branches out from a mainline a siding or spur. Is there a difference?”

4 Responses to Sidings and Spurs

  • David Stokes says:

    Depends on where you come from and the cultural heritage. Spur appears to have come from the US of A where as siding from British colonial times

  • Geoff says:

    Similar to what David says. In North America a siding has a switch (or points) at both ends, so to my mind it’s a passing loop. A spur in North America is what I called a siding when I was growing up in the UK, ie a single switch (point) to a length of track that terminates.

    I’m sure there would be a market for a dictionary that translates North American railroad english to British railway english. Another example would be a Bo-Bo British diesel which would be a B-B in North America. (Not to mention all the non-railroading words I had to learn!)


    I go with Geoff. In the US in my club, a spur is a single ended piece of track off one switch and ends.

    A siding could be serving an industry if it comes back onto the main at both ends.

    the other is a passing siding to let a train go by or get the loco around to the other end of the consist

  • Morgan Bilbo says:

    There is no definitive answer. Both serve an industry via rail. Personally, I would tend to define a siding as having a turnout at both ends. And a spur as a dead end. But that isn’t 100% true.

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