Pictorial alphabets provide endless fascination. They embody all manner of cultural assumptions and attitudes to childhood learning. In this example the vocabulary of train travel is ransacked for appropriate imagery in an age when railways were the most accessible source of mobility. Today’s rail network is an enfeebled relic of former glories and well-rewarded teams of consultants and accountants have left us a threadbare system and an enormous bureaucracy. As the network has declined much of the vocabulary has been made redundant. Milk trains and newspaper trains run no more while corridor trains, horse-boxes, water towers and guard’s vans have also ceased to be. Tunnels and viaducts and queues will always be with us and might even merit a place in today’s railway alphabet along with V for vandalism, R for replacement bus service, G for gauge corner cracking, U for unattended baggage, C for customer interface and F for franchisees.