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[reyl-wey] /ˈreɪlˌweɪ/
a rail line with lighter-weight equipment and roadbed than a main-line railroad.
a railroad, especially one operating over relatively short distances.
Also called trackway. any line or lines of rails forming a road of flanged-wheel equipment.
Chiefly British. railroad.
Origin of railway
First recorded in 1770-80; rail1 + way1
Related forms
railwayed, adjective
railwayless, adjective
interrailway, adjective
prerailway, adjective
unrailwayed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for railway
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I would like to return to Paris, but the railway is mobilized.

    Ballads of a Bohemian Robert W. Service
  • He can have a season ticket on the railway, and come down every night.

    Life in London Edwin Hodder
  • It represents a sort of nut, itself too bulky for a railway truck.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • As yet the good townsfolk are hardly alive to the benefits of a railway.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
  • We decided to visit Orange instead, a short distance by railway.

    The Roof of France Matilda Betham-Edwards
British Dictionary definitions for railway


a permanent track composed of a line of parallel metal rails fixed to sleepers, for transport of passengers and goods in trains
any track on which the wheels of a vehicle may run: a cable railway
the entire equipment, rolling stock, buildings, property, and system of tracks used in such a transport system
the organization responsible for operating a railway network
(modifier) of, relating to, or used on a railway or railways: a railway engine, a railway strike
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for railway

1812 in modern sense, from rail (n.1) + way. Earlier used of any sort of road on which rails (originally wooden) were laid for easier transport (1776).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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