train of thought

A succession of connected ideas, a path of reasoning, as in You've interrupted my train of thought; now what was I saying? This idiom, which uses train in the sense of “an orderly sequence,” was first recorded in 1651, in philosopher Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.