1757, from rail (n.1) + road. Originally "road laid with rails for heavy wagons" in mining operations. The process itself (but not the word) seems to have been in use by late 17c. Application to passenger and freight trains dates from 1825, tending to be replaced in this sense in England by railway.
early 15c., "mounted military expedition," Scottish and northern English form of rade "a riding, journey," from Old English rad "a riding, ride, expedition, journey; raid," (see road). The word fell into obscurity by 17c., but it was revived by Scott ("The Lay of the Last Minstrel," 1805; "Rob Roy," 1818), with a more extended sense of "attack, foray, hostile or predatory incursion." By 1873 of any sudden or vigorous descent (police raids, etc.). Of air raids by 1908.
place of public execution for Middlesex from c. 1200 to 1783; it stood at the junction of modern Oxford Street, Bayswater Road and Edgware Road.