Workforce:US railways/Nav/Manual of style

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Following are guidelines and suggestions on the style of train articles for WikiProject Trains.


See also: Workforce:Notability (Railway lines and stations)

A topic is presumed to be notable if it has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject. For general advice on notability of articles see WP:N.

The primary Workforce notability criteria for organizations would also need to be consulted. In particular, a company, corporation, organization, group, product, or service is notable if it has been the subject of coverage in secondary sources. Such sources must be reliable, and independent of the subject. The depth of coverage of the subject by the source must be considered. If the depth of coverage is not substantial, then multiple independent sources should be cited to establish notability. Trivial or incidental coverage of a subject by secondary sources is not sufficient to establish notability. Once notability is established, primary sources may be used to add content. Ultimately, and most importantly, all content must be attributable.

When that has been done, train specific criteria may be considered. That an article meets one or more of these criteria, or doesn't meet any of them, is not by itself proof of notability.

Train specific criteria

  1. Railroad and rail transport operating companies
  1. Rolling stock
  1. Equipment manufacturers
  • Currently operating manufacturers.
  • Companies that have been labeled as a superlative type (first, largest, etc.).
  • Companies that have been depicted on postage stamps in any country.
  1. Railroad infrastructure and buildings

Note that discussion is ongoing for notability guidelines on railway and rapid transit/subway stations.

  • Any structure labeled as historically significant by reputable and verifiable external sources, such as the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Structures that have appeared on postage stamps in any country.
  • Any piece of equipment or equipment part where a history of the development can be described (more than just a dictionary definition).
  1. Rail transport museums
  • Any museum whose collection includes culturally or historically significant rolling stock or infrastructure, such as equipment or structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  1. People

For articles on living people, the Wikipedia policy Workforce:Biographies of living persons applies, and must be consulted. In all cases Wikipedia:Notability (people) should also be consulted.

  • Founders, Presidents, CEOs and Chief Mechanical Engineers of railroad companies.
  • Railroaders who have been honored at the national level in any country with an award, such as Railroader of the Year.
  • Railroaders who have appeared on postage stamps in any country, i.e. Jimmie Rodgers (the "singing brakeman") or Casey Jones.
  • Railroaders who have been identified as noteworthy by reputable and verifiable external sources, such as those who appear in: White, John H., Jr., (Spring 1986), America's most noteworthy railroaders, Railroad History, The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, 154, p. 9-15.
  1. Events
  • Events that served as important turning points in rail transport history.
  • Accidents where a significant number of casualties or a significant amount of property damage occur (this is purposely not nailed down to a specific number for either criterion).
  • Accidents that form the basis for rail transport legislation.
  • Events that have been labeled as historically significant by reputable and verifiable external sources.
  1. Historical, technical and preservation organizations
  • Organizations that have been recognized as superlative (i.e. first, oldest, largest, etc.) by multiple reputable external sources.
  • Organizations that have appeared as the primary subject of postage stamps.
  • Organizations that are stewards of equipment or facilities of historical or cultural significance (i.e. listed buildings or equipment or structures on the National Register of Historic Places, etc.).

This list is not intended to be used as minimum requirements.

General style guidelines

Lead paragraph

  • Write a concise lead section that summarizes the content of the entire article.
  • The first sentence should provide a definition of the article subject, including (where applicable) the company's AAR reporting marks; use the {{reporting mark}} template to present the mark in a standardized format.
  • If there is another common abbreviation for the subject, state it in the lead section.

Talk page


  • The most general stub type for rail transport is {{rail-stub}}.
  • Use the most specific stub type applicable (as listed on Cat:Rail stubs), deferring to {{rail-stub}} only when the existing subtypes are not appropriate.
  • Multiple stub templates can be used on a stub (such as using both {{diesel-loco-stub}} and {{US-rail-stub}} on an article about a diesel locomotive that was only used in the US), but avoid adding more than two stub templates to any specific article.
  • In order to create a new stub type, identify at least around 50 articles that would fall into the proposed stub category and then make a proposal on the WikiProject Stub sorting/Proposals page.


  • The most general category for rail transport is Cat:Rail transport
  • Use the most specific categories applicable, deferring to Cat:Rail transport only when the existing categories are not appropriate.
  • Do not place articles into both a category and that category's parent category, but use the more specific of the two.
  • There are categories for beginnings and endings based on start and end years as appropriate. For companies, add [[Category:Companies established in YEAR]] and [[Category:YEAR disestablishments]]; for biographies, add [[Category:YEAR births]] and [[Category:YEAR deaths]] (if both birth and death years are known, {{lived}} provides a handy shortcut). Train service or rolling stock equipment introductions can be categorized in [[Category:YEAR introductions]]. In each of these, substitute YEAR with the appropriate year number (the complete four-digit year).

Articles about rail transport companies (railroads) style guide

Article name

Summary information and lead section

Standard subsections

  • History of the railroad and significant predecessors
  • Territory and/or station list
  • Company officers (presidents and CEOs only) through history
  • Major service areas

Articles about rail transport equipment (rolling stock) style guide


Article name

  • Articles about a generic type of equipment should use the equipment type's most general name with subsections for specific subtypes (such as Refrigerator car)
  • Articles about a specific model of equipment that may have been used by more than one company should be named as MANUFACTURER MODEL (such as EMD SD40-2)
  • Articles about a specific class of equipment used by a specific railroad company should be named with the most common company and class names (such as PRR K4s)
  • Articles about specific single pieces of equipment should be named with the most common name used to identify the equipment, using disambiguation as appropriate (such as John Bull (locomotive)); if the equipment is known by its operating number, the number should be prefaced with the most common railroad identifer (such as Santa Fe 3751)

Standard subsections

  • Design and historical development
  • Preservation

Articles about named passenger train services style guide

Summary information and lead section

  • The first sentence of the article text should list the service name, operating railroad(s), service endpoints (i.e. Chicago to Los Angeles) and the beginning and ending service years; for example, the following would be an acceptable lead sentence:
    The Fooian Express was a passenger train service operated by the Bar None Railroad between Frozz, Michigan, and Bazz, Ohio, from 1882 to 1926.


  • Within the article text, train names are italicized (as in Super Chief)
  • For Amtrak services, use {{Infobox Amtrak}} and the appropriate footer navbox(es)

Article name

  • The article name should be the service's official name
  • Where disambiguation is necessary, first disambiguate to "(passenger train)" (as in Chief (passenger train)) then to individual railroad companies as needed (as in Southern Belle (KCS) and Southern Belle (LBSC))
  • Do not use the word "the" in the article title unless it is part of the service's official name

Standard subsections

  • History
  • Route and equipment used
  • Legacy


  • Add articles to the appropriate [[Category:YEAR introductions]], where YEAR is the year that the named service began
  • Where there is a category for the operating railroad, add the article to that category (and to the specific passenger service subcategory if it exists)
  • For named passenger services, add it to the appropriate category under Cat:Named passenger trains