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railroad ferry[′rāl‚rōd ¦fer·ē]
a means of enabling railroad trains or individual cars and locomotives to cross rivers, lakes, estuaries, and bays. Types of ferries include navigation ferries (permanent or temporary) and ice ferries. Permanent navigation ferries are intended for relatively prolonged use; temporary ones are used during the construction or restoration of bridges. Railroad ice ferries are of two types: simple ice ferries, for which the rails are laid directly on the ice, and ice ferries that have a strengthened rail base—wooden logs, crossbeams, or pile scaffold bridges. The largest railroad ferry operation abroad is the ferry across the English Channel. The largest in the USSR is the Caspian operation, using the ferryboat Sovetskii Azerbaidzhan, on the Krasnovodsk-Baku route.