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Diffence between a Railway and Rail Road?

5237 Views 35 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  cmjdisanto
I'm trying to name my garden railway/rail road, and trying find out if there is a subtle difference (or not so subtle) between "railway" and "rail road"?  Are they equally interchangeable or is there a difference?
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I would say use what suits you, unless of course you're modeling a specific company then you'll have to do your research, even then you'll find that the corporate name and operating names (i.e. d.b.a.) were different.

You'll find the usage mixed on both sides of the pond...

Rail Road
Rail Way
etc. etc. etc.
Posted By ralphbrades on 02/08/2008 9:41 PM
Er Steve C....

No you don't.

Here in the UK and Commonwealth if I say "Railway" it means somewhere that is NOT in the US. if I say "Railroad" I mean somewhere that IS in the US and nowhere else.

Only is the US are the two words used interchangeably.




I must respectfully disagree. While that may be very well true now a days and sometime into the past, I've run across way to many pieces of documentation published in England (and maybe Wales & Scotland) in the early 1700s and later where the terms as stated above were used, and the lines that were being refered to weren't in the U.S. as a matter of fact I don't think there were any steam locomotives present on this side of the pond as yet (of domestic orign or import).
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Posted By ralphbrades on 02/09/2008 1:36 AM

The word 'rail' was already in use for things made from lengths of wood and this is probably the origin of the term railway (first recorded use 1681) or rail-road (first used as a description in 1702).


Is this what you mean? I spend quite a lot of my time at Butterley....




To be honest, the last time this question was brought up I became very curious and spent around a month or so rummaging around all sorts of web sites in England, Wales, and Scotland etc. The main thing that I discovered is just how much more we're alike than different. Not surprising I suppose given our beginnings and all. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif

At first most of the documents I looked at were of a modern vintage, however, within many of them there were references made to much earlier documents from which the authors laid claim to as being their source of original evidence. Well, what with myself being of natural inquisitive and distrustful nature to begin with, What else could be expected, but that I would go in search of these older documents, which led to many interesting places (e.g. the British Museum, please forgive the terminology if it's incorrect). It really was amazing to find Acts of Parliament on railway, railroad matters that far back.available on-line. If I remember correctly wasn't the Surry Iron Railway the first time that parliamentary authority came into play since the line was in an urban environment as was class as a common carrier, not a purpose-built one like the ones for the collieries and chalk quarries, which mostly traversed private land.

I'm going from memory here and dealing with names that are unfamiliar, but as I remember it one of the gentlemen that I remember using the hyphenated form of rail-road was by the name Tredgold, but I believe he was referring to what I believe is rightly called 'edgeway' where the wheels are flanged as opposed to an 'L' shaped plate used on tramways. The other thing that I sort of think I remember reading was that the terms of railway and railroad originated around someplace named Shropshire. Anything further and I'll have to go back and dig up the references that I had stumbled across.originally.
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