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Although traditionally the word “train” was associated with rail transport, it appeared much earlier than the first steam locomotives (1804). Thus, according to the Dahl dictionary, the word “train” comes from the word “trip” and originally meant a series of carts following each other – in this sense the word is preserved, in particular, in the phrase “wedding train”.
In the future, with the development of rail transport, the word “train” began to be applied to it. In the same Dahl dictionary one can come across such a definition: “A railroad train — how many locomotives are lucky, or what is coupled together, into one whole.” The definition also includes a group of interlinked cars – the train.
The definition given in the dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron, already stipulates the presence in the composition of the traction units:
Train – crews linked together to follow the railway. Usually P. is composed of a number of cars, driven by a locomotive placed in the head.
As the use of horse-drawn transport was reduced, the word “train” gradually lost its original meaning (“row of carts”) and became associated exclusively with the railroad.
Railway train, formed and coupled from the cars with one or more existing locomotives or motor cars, having light and other identification signals.
Finally, the Rules for the Technical Operation of Railways give a similar official definition of the word “train,” but with the following proviso:
Locomotives without cars, motor cars, rail cars and rail cars of fixed type, sent to the stage, are considered as a train.
Thus, in the official concept, not every train can be called a train; in turn, the presence of cars is not a prerequisite of the train.