10 train idioms that will make you lose track of time

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  • With the MTR’s cross-harbour extension of the Sha Tin-Central line now open in Hong Kong, it’s the perfect time to learn English phrases related to the railway
  • Whatever you do, don’t lose your train of thought!
Yanni Chow |
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You’ll be on the fast track to writing success with these idioms! Photo: Shutterstock

With the long-awaited MTR cross-harbour extension now open and train buffs bidding farewell to the last 12-car train earlier this month, trains and railways have been in the news a lot recently.

Let’s take this as an opportunity to learn some train idioms to help us stay on track.

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That train has left the station

Meaning: An option, choice, or opportunity is no longer available.

Example: I thought the internship programme was still open for applications, but it looks like that train has left the station.

Gravy train

Meaning: A situation in which someone can make a lot of money or gain many advantages for very little effort.

Example: Sam hopped on the gravy train when he married his wife, whose family owns one of the largest property companies in the world.

We were hoping for real gravy. Photo: Shutterstock

Train of thought

Meaning: The way in which someone reaches a conclusion; a line of reasoning.

Example: I cannot seem to follow Harry’s train of thought, do you understand him? He went from talking about cats to saying we should go on holiday.

Train wreck

Meaning: A chaotic or disastrous situation that is so bad or embarrassing, you can’t help but watch.

Example: Lisa’s group spent so long working on their project, but it was a total train wreck. I felt so bad for them when Justin’s shirt caught fire.

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Jump the track

Meaning: To suddenly switch from one thought or activity to another.

Example: Jeremy’s mind jumped the track while he was performing his monologue, and he completely forgot his lines.

The wrong side of the tracks

Meaning: A poor or less prestigious part of town.

Example: Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Ben learned to be humble and appreciate the little things in life.

Make your writing grow with these idioms all about plants

Lose track of time

Meaning: To fail to stay aware of the time.

Example: I met my best friend on my way to school; we chatted until I lost track of time and missed my first class.

On the fast track

Meaning: To make progress or achieve something more quickly than usual.

Example: This internship opportunity can equip you with the experience you need to be on the fast track for manager.

Train, rocket ship – same difference. Photo: Shutterstock

Track record

Meaning: The past achievements or performance of a person, organisation, or product.

Example: This job needs someone with a good track record in investment.

Go off the rails

Meaning: To behave in an uncontrolled or unacceptable way.

Example: Basketball helped Tim make sure he didn’t go off the rails when he was young.

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