Howdy y’all.  I’ve decided to start a glossary of model railroading terms for all you model train enthusiasts to refer to.  I’ll add to it over time and would love to have your suggestions as well.  Here it is starting with “A”:
Access hatch
A hole in the benchwork and scenery, sometimes concealed with a lift out section of scenery, for emergency access to parts of the layout.

Accessory decoder
Decoder that provides power and operational control of one or more layout accessory devices, such as turnouts, signals, cranes, animation devices, lighting, etc. Also known as a stationary decoder.

Used by the command station to communicate with a specific decoder. It can be either 2- or 4-digit, depending on the system, and is typically part of the locomotive’s road number. Addresses are unique to each decoder.

Alternating Current (AC)
An electric current that reverses its direction of flow at regular intervals. Each move from zero to maximum strength and back to zero is half a cycle. A full cycle includes excursions in both the positive and negative direction.

Meter used to measure current strength – for example, how many amps a locomotive draws when it stalls.

The American Railway Engineering Association is the prototype railroad organization which establishes right of-way material specifications and track construction standards.

Automatic reversing
A circuit that senses short circuits and reverses the polarity. Used commonly with reversing loops, wyes, and turntables.

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