jump the track(s)

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jump the track(s)

1. Literally, of a train, to derail from the track and lose control. Due to a technical issue, the train wasn't able to slow down ahead of the turn and ended up jumping the track because of its speed.
2. To veer off in very unexpected directions; to lose or change focus in surprising or bizarre ways. The long-running drama has by this point jumped the track so completely that it would be foolish to try and summarize it for the uninitiated. The manager's speech really jumped the tracks about halfway through, shifting into a weird commentary on the nature of corporate America.
See also: jump

jump the track

 
1. Lit. [for something] to fall or jump off the rails or guides. (Usually said about a train.) The train jumped the track, causing many injuries to the passengers. The engine jumped the track, but the other cars stayed on.
2. . Fig. to change suddenly from one thing, thought, plan, or activity to another. The entire project jumped the track, and we finally had to give up. John's mind jumped the track while he was in the play, and he forgot his lines.
See also: jump, track

jump the track

Suddenly switch from one thought or activity to another. For example, Joe was describing his trip to Australia and, jumping the track, began complaining about the airline , or They couldn't decide on the next step and now the whole reorganization plan has jumped the track . This expression alludes to a train going off the rails. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
See also: jump, track
References in periodicals archive ?
Chicago - An emergency track-side braking system activated but failed to stop a Chicago commuter train from jumping the tracks and barreling to the top of an escalator at O'Hare International Airport, a federal investigator said Tuesday.
The train broke loose early on Saturday and sped downhill in the darkness for nearly seven miles before jumping the tracks at 63mph.
The unmanned Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway train broke loose early on Saturday and sped downhill nearly seven miles before jumping the tracks at 63 mph.
ODELL LAKE - A Union Pacific freight train derailed early Monday morning with 14 mostly empty cars jumping the tracks a stone's throw away from the popular Shelter Cove Resort on Odell Lake.
Think of having a train traveling down a two-track tunnel and jumping the tracks and continuing along its way at the same speed," explains Loh.
Witnesses said the driverless freight train loaded with crude oil hit high speeds before jumping the tracks and exploding.