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 formsrail·wayed, adjectiverail·way·less, adjectivein·ter·rail·way, adjectivepre·rail·way, adjectiveun·rail·wayed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for railway

Contemporary Examples of railway

Historical Examples of railway

  • 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


US railroad


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 runa 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 railwaysa 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

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