Re: What's in a name


Generally speaking the use of Railroad in a corporate name was an American term, and Railway was British. Canada, of course, followed British tradition. The incunables of railroading tended to use the term as two words, and most of the earliest railroad companies incorporated using two words. A few railroads today still retain their original corporate names; notable examples are the Long Island Rail Road and the Strasburg Rail Road. Around the time of the Civil War the term began to grow a hyphen, Rail-Road, and by the time there was a standard gauge writers began using one word, railroad. Thus, most of the Western roads and later incorporations were using one word, and a few were using railway(s). Some corporate consolidations in America used System and Lines and Railway(s). 

During the merger era and today's alphabet era anything goes for both those who incorporate new railroad names, and those who write about them. Even responsible publications today don't appear to bother with such details, and some of today's railroad owners don't understand the traditions. Language evolves, and in today's internet world where more people are "publishing" more words than ever, phrases and language will change quickly and the style-book is getting lost in the cacophony. And let's not talk about the (mis)use of type and typefaces.

Where this discussion isn't off topic is that these corporate name traditions could be seen on the sides of steam-era freight cars and the public could repeatedly see the name of the local Rail Road, Railway or System. Not so much among the miles of reporting marks roaming the rails today.

              ....Mike Del Vecchio

-----Original Message-----
From: richramik@... [STMFC]
Sent: Fri, Dec 25, 2015 9:03 pm
Subject: [STMFC] What's in a name

I realize this is a bit off topic, but this is a question that I have been thinking about for a while now.  I've done some research but have not found the rationale or reason for using the following:
  • railroad
  • railway
  • lines
  • system

What would be the reasoning for using any of the four.  For example,
  • Pennsylvania Railroad
  • Great Northern Railway
  • Southern Pacific Lines
  • New York Central System
I guess what I am really asking is what are the differences between them?

Rich Ramik

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