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Traveling by Train in English

Last month we discussed terms relating to air travel, so this month we'll review some of the basic words related to train travel. Trains are not as commonly used in the United States as they used to be, but there are still a number of regular passenger trains running, especially on the the East Coast. In the United Kingdom, trains are still a standard mode of transportation, of course, as they are in the rest of Europe.


Firstly, the vehicle that you use to travel with: 


We have many people coming on the train from Manhattan.

Captions 24-25, Surfshop in Long Beach - Long Island

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In the above example, the "train" referred to is probably the subway. New Yorkers often refer to the subway as "the train," unlike Londoners who refer to their local trains as "the tube."


Next, the place you leave from:


We will pick you up at the train station.

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Then the action you carry out on the train:


… and then taking the train down to Basel, Switzerland.​

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You can "take a train" or "ride on a train" or "travel by train," among several possibilities. 


Next are the lengths of steel upon which trains travel:


When train tracks or roads intersect or meet, it's often called a "junction."

Caption 26, The Alphabet - the Letter J

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A junction is also called a "crossing." Train tracks are also called "rails," hence another term for trains in general: 


We'll have to go to the railroad.

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When you travel by train, you may not always have a ticket reservation and may need to buy a ticket at the train station. To find out when your train leaves, you will need to look at a schedule: 


If we have a variation in a schedule, it means the schedule changes.

Caption 33, The Alphabet - the Letter V

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A train schedule is also called a timetable: 


There is no need for a precise timetable today.

Caption 57, Brexit - David Cameron resigns as UK votes to leave

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With a train schedule or train timetable you can be certain of catching the right train at the right time! Only history will show, however, if with Brexit, Great Britain has indeed "missed the train." This expression can also be used metaphorically!


Further Learning
Go to this page and see some other examples of words relating to train travel in English, and then go to Yabla English to find other examples of train travel words used in a real-world context. Note in the above link the use of British English terms "single ticket" and "return ticket." In US English, a "single ticket" is a "one-way ticket" and a "return ticket" is a "round-trip ticket."

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