Tramway

or Tram Rails. A railway for tram-carts or waggons, originally made of wooden rails. Iron rails were first laid down in 1738, but apparently were called “dram-roads” (Greek, dram-ein, to run). We are told there were waggons called drams (or trams). Benjamin Outram, in 1800, used stone rails at Little Eaton, Derbyshire; but the similarity between tram and Outram is a mere coincidence. Perhaps he was the cause of the word dram being changed to tram, but even this is doubtful. (See Rees' Cyclopaedia.)

“Trams are a kind of sledge on which coals are brought from the place where they are hewn to the shaft. A tram has four wheels, but a sledge is without wheels.” —Brand: History of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, vcl. ii. p. 681. n. (1789)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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