1812 in the modern sense, from rail (n.1) + way (n.). Also compare railroad (n.). Earlier used of any sort of road on which rails (originally wooden) were laid for easier transport (1776).
Rude railway-trains, with all your noise and smoke,
I love to see you wheresoe'er ye move :
Though Nature seems such trespass to reprove :
Though ye the soul of old romance provoke,
I thank you, that from misery ye unyoke
Thousands of panting horses.
[Richard Howitt, from "Railway Sonnets," Hood's Magazine, March 1845]
Railway time "standard time adopted throughout a railway system" is by 1847.
updated on April 05, 2021
Dictionary entries near railway