I know highway and aerial highway, the above-surface one. However, I do not know how to say aerial "subway" in the US. Thank you very much.

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    Could you describe what an "aerial subway" is? – user3169 Feb 15 '15 at 0:41
  • Something like the SkyTrain? – Matthew Read Feb 15 '15 at 3:24
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    Commuter train might work for some instances. – J.R. Feb 15 '15 at 12:55
  • Not all USAian towns call their rapid transit systems subways, whether underground, on the ground, or above ground, or any combination thereof. – user6951 Feb 15 '15 at 19:30

Chicago has "The El" (which is an elevated train).

Seattle has "The Monorail" (which is an elevated train that rides on a single, wide, concrete rail.)

As Matthew Read points out, Vancouver, British Columbia has a "SkyTrain" system.

Many cities have elevated portions of their light rail systems. Although the underground portions are often called subways, and the ground-level portions are sometimes called streetcars or trolleys, most places do not have different names for the ground-level and elevated portions of the system. For example:

  • Seattle has "Link light rail" that has all three kinds of track.
  • The San Francisco Bay Area has "BART", which also has all three kinds of track.

XKCD has a collection of subway maps; many of the route networks include elevated sections. Most of the "tunnels", "ferries", and "submarines" on the map are as fictional as teleporters and wormholes.

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  • I suppose the OP meant such systems, but by definition subway is the wrong word, since a subway has to be underground. – user3169 Feb 15 '15 at 4:18
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    @user3169 - If a subway is mostly underground, we can still call it a subway if it has an elevated portion. A subway train is still a subway train, even when it emerges from it's subterranian environment for a brief spell. – J.R. Feb 15 '15 at 12:54
  • Jasper, thank you very much for your answer. It is clear to people who are not familiar with these terms. Your word choose is also clear to me. May I ask that what is your first language? Thank you very much. – Superuser Feb 15 '15 at 22:52

In general, I would call that an elevated train or elevated railway, although as Jasper mentions, many places have local names for their own particular elevated trains.

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  • I found aerial highway the phrase from a recent news that an air plane hit a taxi on a highway and then crashes into a river. Since ypu mentioned elevated highway, do elevated and aerial highway both make sense to you? – Superuser Feb 15 '15 at 22:57
  • "elevated highway" is a rare term in US, but I would understand it to mean a portion of highway that is above "street level", especially an "overpass", whether passing over a road, railroad, or (a "ramp") over another freeway – Brian Hitchcock Feb 16 '15 at 5:42
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    @Superuser: As a US English speaker, "aerial highway" sounds a little strange. "Elevated highway" sounds better. – stangdon Feb 17 '15 at 22:21
  • Thank you very much. In fact, I found the phrase on a CNN news. edition.cnn.com/2015/02/03/world/taiwan-plane-crash-transasia Your answer causes another problem. – Superuser Feb 18 '15 at 6:26
  • and it is too long to be in a comment because of links. I put it in the answer. Would you please check it out? – Superuser Feb 18 '15 at 6:40

@stangdon, thank you very much. My comment is too long because of links, so I write it in the answer.

In fact, I found the phrase on a CNN news.


Your answer causes another problem. For years I have learned English from CNN news, which should be authoritative and correct enough to learn from, I believed. Now I realize that I may learn weird English from them. Would you please check the accuracy of the phrase aerial highway in the situation?

The highway is not elevated at some portion to cross bridges or other roads. All of it is literally built above ground to save land usage in Taipei, one of the most crowded cities on earth, as shown in figure. You can see that there are three layers of road. Two of them are elevated and you can see them on the picture. One of them is block by the embank wall and you can not see it, but it indeed in there.

Or, a big or, is the reporter just try to do a authoritative tone by adding rare words?



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