Definition of train noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//treɪn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//treɪn//
    Trains, Train and bus travel
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  1. 1   a railway/railroad engine pulling a number of coaches/cars or trucks, taking people and goods from one place to another to get on/off a train I like travelling by train. a passenger/commuter/goods/freight train to catch/take/get the train to London a train journey/driver You have to change trains at Reading. There are regular train services to Edinburgh and Glasgow. see also gravy train, road train, wagon train Wordfinderaisle, buffet, carriage, connection, locomotive, luggage rack, platform, station, track, train Culturerailways and railroadsThe world's first railway along which passengers travelled on trains pulled by steam locomotives (= engines) was opened in 1825 between Stockton and Darlington in north-east England. By the early 1900s, when railways reached the height of their popularity, there were about 23 000 miles/37 000 kilometres of railway track. Victorian engineers such as Isambard Kingdom Brunel designed bridges for the railway, and architects designed elaborate station buildings such as St Pancras in London.The railways played a vital role in Britain's industrial development during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Later, with the invention of the internal combustion engine (= the type of engine used in cars), road transport became more popular for both goods and passengers. In 1947 regional railway companies were nationalized (= transferred to state ownership) and became British Rail (later BR), but following the Beeching report in 1963 many lines (= routes) were closed in order to save money. In 1994 the government decided that BR should be returned to private ownership. Tracks and stations were made the responsibility of a company called Railtrack, while trains were once again operated by several companies on a regional basis.The railway network connects all the major towns in Britain, and now, via a high-speed service and the Channel Tunnel, links Britain with France and Belgium. People are encouraged to use trains and other forms of public transport to help reduce fuel consumption and pollution. Railways are used for both short and long journeys, for commuting to work each day, and for transporting freight (= goods). Some routes are now electrified and have high-speed trains. Others still rely on diesel-powered locomotives. Some trains are old, dirty and overcrowded. They also have a reputation for being late, and jokes are often made about the excuses given for delays. These have included ‘leaves on the line’ in autumn, and ‘the wrong kind of snow’. Tickets are quite expensive, although students and older people can get railcards which entitle them to cheaper fares. Cheaper fares are also available if tickets are booked in advance.Following several major railway accidents and the failure of the Railtrack company in 2002 the government set up Network Rail to be responsible for the railway system used by the train operating companies, private companies which run the trains. These companies provide information about trains to the public through their organization, National Rail.Most Americans have never been on a train. This is sad because the railroads, as they are generally called in the US, were the means by which the Old West was settled. Passenger trains today mainly serve commuters around large cities. The only major long-distance railway business is done by freight trains (BrE also goods trains).The first US rail company was the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1828, but its cars (BrE carriages) were pulled by horses. Steam power was used by the 1830s, and the Pullman car was invented in 1856. The Civil War led to the rapid development of railroads, and the nation was connected from east to west in 1869 when the Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific joined their tracks in Utah. The 20th century brought more powerful locomotives and huge stations, like Grand Central Station in New York. The greatest period of US railroads began in the middle of the 19th century and lasted about 100 years. This time has been celebrated with popular songs like I've Been Working on the Railroad, Freight Train Blues, John Henry, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Orange Blossom Special and Casey Jones. Trains and railroad workers were also the subjects of many films and novels.After World War II car ownership greatly increased and people no longer used trains as a means of transport. Union Pacific, once known for its two-level ‘dome lounge cars’ from which passengers could see the scenery, stopped long-distance passenger services in 1971. Amtrak, a company controlled by the government, now runs the California Zephyr, the Texas Eagle and other trains but it is not very successful in attracting passengers.Some Americans are train buffs (= people who love trains and know a lot about them) and take special steam locomotive trips. Americans also collect model trains, some of which, including the heavy Lionel sets from the 1940s, are now valuable. In Britain old and young alike visit railway museums at e.g. Didcot and York. Trainspotting (= recording the names and registration numbers of locomotives) used to be a popular hobby, especially for boys, but is less common now. See related entries: Trains, Train and bus travel
  2. 2a number of people or animals moving in a line a camel train
  3. 3[usually singular] a series of events or actions that are connected His death set in motion a train of events that led to the outbreak of war.
  4. 4the part of a long formal dress that spreads out on the floor behind the person wearing it
  5. Word OriginMiddle English (as a noun in the sense ‘delay’): from Old French train (masculine), traine (feminine), from trahiner (verb), from Latin trahere ‘pull, draw’. Early noun senses were ‘trailing part of a robe’ and ‘retinue’; the latter gave rise to ‘line of travelling people or vehicles’, later ‘a connected series of things’. The early verb sense ‘cause a plant to grow in a desired shape’ was the basis of the sense ‘instruct’.Extra examples Driven to despair, he threw himself under a train. From Germany they travelled by train to Poland. From Germany we’ll travel by train to Poland. He was leaving on the early train for Zaragoza. He was pushed into the path of an oncoming train. I can’t stop now, I have a train to catch. I got the through train to Manchester. I lose my train of thought when there are distractions. I saved up my pocket money to buy an electric train set. I saved up to buy an electric train set. I was late and had to run for my train. I’m going to the station to meet her off the train. In summer the trains run as often as every ten minutes. In the train of= following behind the rich and famous came the journalists. It’s quicker by train. Most trains are running late because of the accident. She ran alongside the departing train, waving goodbye. She travels on the same train as you. She tried to kill herself by jumping off a moving train. Slowly the train began to move. The 10.19 train has been cancelled. The 15.18 Amtrak train to Chicago will be arriving on track 3. The company plans to run trains on key intercity routes. The high-speed train travels at 120 mph. The last train leaves at 00.30. The next train is due at 9.45. The next train to arrive at Platform 2 is the 12.30 from Leeds. The telephone rang and she lost her train of thought. The train came in and I got on. The train came towards them. The train chugged slowly forward. The train drew into the station. The train entered the tunnel. The train headed out of Athens. The train jolted into motion. The train now standing at Platform 3 is the 16.50 to Brighton. The train reached Prague at half past six. The train terminated in Baltimore. Unemployment brings greater difficulties in its train. We didn’t want to leave the platform in case the train came. We had to get up early to make the 6 o’clock train for Florence. We jumped on the train just as it was about to leave. What are the times of the return trains? You’ll have to change trains at Cambridge. a carnival with ghost trains and dodgem cars a picture of the bullet train speeding past Mount Fuji a train hauled by a steam locomotive a train waiting at a signal an express train bound for Edinburgh an initial omission which set in motion a train of events leading to the crime the Paris to Brussels train the people on the train the roar of a passing train the sound of an approaching train the train from Birmingham to Worcester the train from Toronto to Calgary train loads of iron ore trains between Brindisi and Rome trains between Cape Town and PretoriaIdioms
    bring something in its train
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    (formal) to have something as a result Unemployment brings great difficulties in its train.
    (formal) following behind somebody In the train of the rich and famous came the journalists. (formal) to prepare or start something That telephone call set in train a whole series of events. the connected series of thoughts that are in your head at a particular time The phone ringing interrupted my train of thought.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: train