Rail·road Rail·way n.
1. A road or way consisting of one or more parallel series of iron or steel rails, patterned and adjusted to be tracks for the wheels of vehicles, and suitably supported on a bed or substructure.
Note: ☞ The modern railroad is a development and adaptation of the older tramway.
2. The road, track, etc., with all the lands, buildings, rolling stock, franchises, etc., pertaining to them and constituting one property; as, a certain railroad has been put into the hands of a receiver.
Note: ☞ Railway is the commoner word in England; railroad the commoner word in the United States.
Note: ☞ In the following and similar phrases railroad and railway are used interchangeably: --
Atmospheric railway, Elevated railway, etc. See under Atmospheric, Elevated, etc.
Cable railway. See Cable road, under Cable.
Ferry railway, a submerged track on which an elevated platform runs, for carrying a train of cars across a water course.
Gravity railway, a railway, in a hilly country, on which the cars run by gravity down gentle slopes for long distances after having been hauled up steep inclines to an elevated point by stationary engines.
Railway brake, a brake used in stopping railway cars or locomotives.
Railway car, a large, heavy vehicle with flanged wheels fitted for running on a railway. [U.S.]
Railway carriage, a railway passenger car. [Eng.]
Railway scale, a platform scale bearing a track which forms part of the line of a railway, for weighing loaded cars.
Railway slide. See Transfer table, under Transfer.
Railway spine Med., an abnormal condition due to severe concussion of the spinal cord, such as occurs in railroad accidents. It is characterized by ataxia and other disturbances of muscular function, sensory disorders, pain in the back, impairment of general health, and cerebral disturbance, -- the symptoms often not developing till some months after the injury.
Underground railroad Underground railway. (a) A railroad or railway running through a tunnel, as beneath the streets of a city. (b) Formerly, a system of cooperation among certain active antislavery people in the United States prior to 1866, by which fugitive slaves were secretly helped to reach Canada.
Note: [In the latter sense railroad, and not railway, was usually used.] “Their house was a principal entrepôt of the underground railroad.” --W. D. Howells.
1. A large, strong rope or chain, of considerable length, used to retain a vessel at anchor, and for other purposes. It is made of hemp, of steel wire, or of iron links.
2. A rope of steel wire, or copper wire, usually covered with some protecting or insulating substance; as, the cable of a suspension bridge; a telegraphic cable.
3. Arch A molding, shaft of a column, or any other member of convex, rounded section, made to resemble the spiral twist of a rope; -- called also cable molding.
Bower cable, the cable belonging to the bower anchor.
Cable road, a railway on which the cars are moved by a continuously running endless rope operated by a stationary motor.
Cable's length, the length of a ship's cable. Cables in the merchant service vary in length from 100 to 140 fathoms or more; but as a maritime measure, a cable's length is either 120 fathoms (720 feet), or about 100 fathoms (600 feet, an approximation to one tenth of a nautical mile).
Cable tier. (a) That part of a vessel where the cables are stowed. (b) A coil of a cable.
Sheet cable, the cable belonging to the sheet anchor.
Stream cable, a hawser or rope, smaller than the bower cables, to moor a ship in a place sheltered from wind and heavy seas.
Submarine cable. See Telegraph.
To pay out the cable, To veer out the cable, to slacken it, that it may run out of the ship; to let more cable run out of the hawse hole.
To serve the cable, to bind it round with ropes, canvas, etc., to prevent its being, worn or galled in the hawse, et.
To slip the cable, to let go the end on board and let it all run out and go overboard, as when there is not time to weigh anchor. Hence, in sailor's use, to die.