Already in train?

中国日报网 2017-11-21 12:01



Already in train?Reader question:

Please explain “already in train” in this sentence: The year 2020 is a key date for us and a number of significant events are already in train.

My comments:

Already in progress, in other words.

This indicates that not only many big events are in plans for the year 2020, but actually work on some of those events has already been done – is being done and will continue to get done.

Here, the orderly work is likened to a train consisting of many cars or carriages moving forward together on the railway line. As the train moves, all cars and carriages start moving, one after another.

In our example, the speaker likens the many 2020 events to the cars and carriages of a lengthy train and the work on them likewise, being done in an organized, steady and orderly fashion.

Picture a train moving fast and you can imagine that many pieces of jobs are getting tackled one after another in rapid succession.

Anyways, that’s the idea. Let’s read more media examples to get a better idea of something set in train, meaning it’s put in motion or progress.

Oh, by the way, if you want to use this phrase, make sure you use it in situations where something like a chain of events is happening and things move in concert and especially in succession.

In other words, if it’s in train, make sure it really does look like a train, figuratively speaking.

Now, examples:

1. China is on track for a fourth consecutive decade of rapid growth and will overtake the US as the world's biggest economy in 2016 after accounting for price differences, according to a new report by the OECD.

Having slouched to 7.8 per cent growth last year, its slowest in more than a decade, China's economy will rebound to 8.5 per cent growth this year and 8.9 per cent next, the OECD said.

It forecast that China would average 8 per cent growth in per capita terms during the current decade, provided Beijing can implement a series of economic, financial and regulatory reforms, many of which are already in train.

“There is significant scope for further catch-up in China; China has a strong record with respect to several of the key factors for sustaining growth and is well positioned to emulate the record of earlier stellar Asian performers,” the OECD said in its survey of the world’s second-biggest economy.

The OECD noted that growth would gradually ebb as China catches up to more advanced economies, but its forecast is well ahead of Beijing’s official target of 7 per cent average growth in the five years to the end of 2015.

- OECD: China forecast to overtake U.S. by 2016,, March 23, 2013.

2. The Government should welcome more refugees and migrants than the 600 people the State agreed to accept through the EU relocation programme, according to Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.

Ireland has a responsibility to help people who are in “absolute peril” and must play a role in overcoming what has become “one of the most challenging issues for humankind”, Mr Howlin told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme.

“I think there is a requirement for Ireland to step up to the plate,” he said. “It’s not simply a European issue, it’s a world issue. Some of the difficulties in dislodging people from their homelands in Syria and Iraq are not caused by Europeans and we need to have a world response with a real sense of solidarity and humanity and Ireland will certainly measure up to whatever is asked of us.”

Under the EU relocation plan for refugees, Ireland has agreed to take 600 asylum seekers, mainly from Syria and Eritrea, over the next two years, in addition to plans for the resettlement of 520 Syrians by the end of next year.

Mr Howlin said he was sure the State would accept more refugees and migrants than originally planned but that numbers needed to be determined proportionately on a European level.

Asked whether he would support the introduction of European-wide quotas for accepting refugees and migrants, Mr Howlin said people should be allocated across the EU to help deal with what he described as not simply a European issue but a world issue.

“Simply taking a quota of the numbers that are currently moving is not enough. There needs to be a much broader, much deeper, much longer term solution put in train.

“There’s so many people on the move, so many people whose lives are utterly destroyed who want a prospect for themselves and their children. The notion that we see the bodies of young children on the shores of Europe is just so shocking that we can’t let that lie.”

- Ireland should accept more refugees and migrants, says Howlin,, September 3, 2015.

3. Decades ago, a mate coaxed me into joint ownership of two racing greyhounds. Their breeding and talent matched our budget, but for a while we had fun toddling around Victorian country tracks, winning and losing small amounts, doing a lot of passive smoking, but never having to wait in a queue. One night, I forget where, the trainer sent me to the catching pen to collect another of his dogs. It never arrived. It jumped a low fence at the first turn and disappeared into the scrub. I don't know what became of that dog, but I can guess.

Our little adventure came to a messy end one Friday night at Warragul. One of our dogs was a good chance at juicy odds, the trainer said, and I had in my pocket our pooled cash resources, since my mate was unable to attend. But the Princes Highway traffic was horrendous, and I arrived at the track just in time to see our dog’s number going up in the frame as the winner. My mate heard the result on radio and was just beginning to imagine what he would do with his new-found riches when I rang from a payphone. It was a difficult call.

Greyhound racing was then as it is now, the small time. It happens out of sight and out of mind, attended by none of the glamour of thoroughbred racing. Even for those who follow it, it is mostly about the punt and only a little about the dogs. It is why some of the barbaric practices exposed by Four Corners last year and the McHugh inquiry in NSW this year have been allowed to flourish. Our trainer all those years ago had no pretensions, and only a handful of greyhounds, and I presumed he was honest and humane, but I wouldn't really have known. I only ever visited his ramshackle Gippsland kennels once.

This week, greyhound racing emerged blinking and shuffling into public consciousness when NSW Premier Mike Baird banned it in his state. Baird called the findings of the McHugh report “chilling, confronting, horrific”. These included live baiting and the slaughter of healthy dogs no longer able – or never able – to race. Someone put the figure at 68,000 over the past 10 years in NSW alone. On ABC radio on Friday morning, veteran vet Ted Humphreys, who considers himself to be a thorn in the side of the greyhound industry, said that he was euthanising 10 a week himself.

Oddly enough, Humphreys said that exposure already had acted as its own justice system. He said the incidence of cruelty and mistreatment in NSW had reduced by a factor of 10 in a year; everyone was running scared. He was now putting down barely one dog a week. His solution would have been even tighter regulation, but not a ban. In Victoria, the state government and greyhound racing authorities were quick to issue releases detailing how they had already conducted inquiries, and how strictly policed the sport was here, and how even more exhaustive measures were in train. Reading them, you would think greyhound racing in Victoria was so clean you could eat off it.

Two years ago, I interviewed Gippsland hobbyist Gerry Kleeven and came away convinced dog racing for him was a purist’s pursuit. A summary ban would disinherit him of his lifetime’s work, which seems no more just than the fates of the animals.

Critics of Baird’s decision concentrated on job losses. Defenders focused on dogs lost. Who could sort right from wrong in that debate? Perhaps Peter Singer, but few others. At risk of inaugurating another debate, you have to give Baird credit at least for making a decision that will be unpopular with some. One of his own MPs already has lashed out. Whether condoning greyhound racing or stopping it, he would have been said by someone to be sending NSW to the dogs.

But where will Baird’s decision sit a few more decades on? The way mankind amuses itself is always changing. Bare-knuckle fighting once was popular, but no more. Boxing had a long heyday, but it is unlikely ever to return. Cage-fighting is in, for the minute.

The way humans harness animals to their amusement changes constantly, too. There was cock-fighting, and bear-baiting, and dog-fighting – and still is in some places, but marginalised – and at every turn of the page, horses, who must wonder how it is that dogs are called man's best friend. There was even greyhound racing with monkeys as jockeys, briefly. Bull-fighting has a rich lore, but is now a bit naff, and in truth, like boxing, always was over-romanticised, anyway. Ernest Hemingway has much to answer for. Long before any of these, Christians versus lions was considered good sport.

Greyhound racing has only ever been a blip, practised in merely eight countries, and you can now make that seven-and-a-half. Humphreys the vet harrumphed just a little as he foresaw a day when horse racing would also be beyond the pale, and then any sort of animal races, and as mores changed, animals as food. “Some of them don’t realise where a lamb chop comes from,” he said.

But times do change. One of those long-ago greyhounds of ours was called Shadow Minister. Now he would be the much more bland Opposition Spokesman. See what I mean.

- Is greyhound racing going to the dogs? By Greg Baum,, July 8, 2016.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)



















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