What would you call "track" and "rail" in Portuguese? Track is the whole thing, while a rail is one of the two long pieces of metal where the train lays its wheels, e.g. the right rail.


a track, seen from a front-side section

http://www.ikonet.com/es/diccionariovisual/images/esp/corte-de-un-rail-117780.jpg a trail

Could they be:

  • track - trilho m, linha f
  • rail - trilho
  • You should add sample sentences to your question. It would be a stronger question. – ANeves thinks SE is evil Dec 30 '16 at 13:21

Speaking of railways, rail is carril (especially in Portugal) or trilho (especially in Brazil), whereas track is caminho de ferro, via férrea, ferrovia or linha (férrea/de trem/de comboio). To refer to a short section of rail track you can also just say carris or trilhos, which is the plural of carril and trilho.

Caminho de ferro is more like railway, so often referring to the whole system. Via férrea and ferrovia are more likely to be found in print than in casual speech. Linha is a commonly used word in both print and speech. It is a rather versatile word. It can refer to a whole railway line between two cities, or to a metro line; but it can simply refer to any section of railtrack, as in the following examples taken from the press:

Policial salva mulher que tentava se jogar na linha do trem com bebê (O Dia, Rio, 2016.)

5 Se a cancela abaixar e o seu carro estiver parado sobre a linha do trem, saia do veículo e se afaste do local.
7 Cuidado com a velocidade na hora de atravessar a linha férrea, porque você precisa manter o controle do carro no caso de emergência.
(“O que fazer se o carro enguiçar na linha do trem?” Via Certa, Natal RN.)

enter image description here
“Alguns passageiros chegaram a sentar e a deitar na linha férrea impedindo a passagem de trens”, O Globo, Rio

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I'm afraid that, in Brazilian Portuguese, track assumes a plural form, trilhos, while rail is called trilho. So, we do use the same word, differing only in number. This holds true even when targeting highly technical audiences. For instance, I took this picture from one of my engineering classes (the course was Organization of Industrial Services):

A transversal scheme of a track

In European Portuguese, they're called carril for rail and carris for track, in a similar fashion.

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  • Ah vocês não dizem carril aí no Brasil? – Jacinto Dec 29 '16 at 13:21
  • @Jacinto Eu, particularmente, nunca havia ouvido ou lido esta palavra antes. Só a descobri porque procurei na Wikipédia se vocês usavam algum termo diferente de trilho. – Ramon Melo Dec 29 '16 at 13:27
  • Formidável! Assim os vosso trens nunca podem descarrilar :) – Jacinto Dec 31 '16 at 13:33

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