A Mexican stand-off is generally considered a confrontation between multiple people who each cannot progress or regress without an external influence. In the railway sense this is where two trains are head-to-head on a section of track with nowhere for either to go. The trains may have arrived at this situation in a perfectly safe way, protected by the interlocking, but which is operationally undesirable as one or both trains need to perform an out-of-course maneuver such as reversing to a point where the other train can pass.
Some people complain the phrase is racist or otherwise offensive to Mexicans. However, the etymology of the phrase indicates that this is not the case.
Last edited by GeoffM on 15/09/2016 at 03:00