Train Station: track, train, line, slow coach, railroad, rails

Idioms with track

Idiom Explanation Example
on track on schedule/
progressing as expected
We are on track to finish the project by the end of the year.
wrong side of the tracks bad neighbourhood/
poor part of town
It was hard for Johnny to get a good job because he lived on the wrong side of the tracks.
to fast-track sth
the fast track
the quickest way to achieve something/
to do something faster than usual
The bank manager promised to fast-track the application.
A degree in computer science offers a fast track to the top.
one-track mind only able to think about one thing James is always talking about girls. He's got a one-track mind.

Idioms with train

Idiom Explanation Example
train wreck disastrous situation/person that is fascinating to others Although his career was great, his personal life was a train wreck.
gravy train a job or activity that earns a lot of money for little work, sometimes dishonestly Start working online and get on the gravy train.
that train has left the station

it’s too late to do something/
a process is already underway

—I’ve changed my mind.
—Oh, I’m afraid it’s too late now. That train has left the station.
train of thought thought process/
sequence of ideas
What was I saying? Ugh, now I’ve lost my train of thought.

Other train station idioms

Idiom Explanation Example
end of the line a point at which you cannot continue If you can’t come to work on time, then I’m afraid you’ve reached the end of the line with this company.
slow-coach a slow moving/acting person Hurry up slow-coach, we’re going to be late.
railroad someone persuade or pressure someone to do something very quickly, especially against opposition She took time to think about her decision. She wasn’t going to let anybody railroad her.
off the rails behave in a way that is very different than normal or that is socially unacceptable She used to be a lovely girl, but she seems to have gone off the rails.
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Exercises C1

Complete the sentences using track or train.

  1. Zoe’s parents don’t like her new boyfriend because he grew up in the poor part of town. They say he’s from the wrong side of the  .
  2. Adam gave an interesting presentation but it was complicated and I couldn’t follow his   of thought.
  3. Watching reality TV is like watching a   wreck. It’s terrible, but I can’t look away.
  4. Cara's a clever girl with a good head for business. She's on the fast   to success.

Choose the correct idiom.

  1. My little brother does everything so slowly.
  2. Sam’s brother asked him to be the captain of the football team, but Sam wasn’t sure. By the time he made up his mind, his brother had asked someone else.
  3. Jerry has a new job. He works half as much as me and gets paid triple.
  4. Lily and Rosalie didn’t want to do their science project on elephants, but the other members of the group convinced them.
  5. Some people say that cats only think about one thing. Food.
  6. After three years together, Gloria and Ryan broke up. Their relationship couldn’t go any further.
  7. He was a great student and he started studying medicine. After two years he quit university and took up partying.
  8. He partied for three years and then went back to university and became a doctor.

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