I have a question about the meaning of "line" in this news article:

The Wurzburg attack was on a train travelling from the Bavarian town of Treuchtlingen to Wurzburg, which is about 60 miles northwest of Nuremberg. The line was closed.

I don't quite get the intended meaning of "line" in the article. Dictionaries suggest two possible definitions:

  1. a system of transportation, including ships, buses, trains, etc.

  2. a railroad track, usually as part of a larger railroad network

Both definitions seem to fit the usage in the news article. Which one should be used then?

  • To my mind it's obvious the second definition is the best one. It's not like they'd have closed all the roads, canals, air traffic corridors, etc., between Treuchtlingen and Wurzburg. – FumbleFingers Jul 20 '16 at 17:08

The two definitions are similar, so really the difference would be (1) "they stopped running that particular train service" vs (2) "they stopped using that particular track." I think it is more likely that they meant (1), since if they had meant (2), it would make more sense to write something like, "that section of the track was closed."

If it happens that that service is the only service that uses that particular track, then there is essentially no difference between the two.

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