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A headshunt (US: escape track) is a short length of track, provided to release locomotives at terminal platforms, or to allow shunting to take place clear of main lines.

Terminal Headshunts

A terminal headshunt is a short length of track that allows a locomotive to uncouple from its train, move forward, and then run back past it on a parallel track. Such headshunts are typically installed at a terminal station to allow the locomotive of an arriving train to move to the opposite end of (in railway parlance, 'run around') its train, so that it can then haul the same train out of the station in the other direction.

Shunting neck

The term headshunt may also refer to shunting neck or shunt spur: a short length of track laid parallel to the main line for the purpose of allowing a train to shunt back into a siding or rail yard without occupying the main running-line.


A run-round loop (or run-around loop)<!--both terms redirect here, hence bold--> is a track arrangement that enables a locomotive to attach to the opposite end of the train. This process is known as "running round a train".

Although a common procedure when the majority of trains were locomotive-hauled, the manoeuvre is now comparatively rare on public service railways. Increased use of multiple unit and push-pull passenger...
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