on the rails

on the rails

Operating, functioning, or proceeding as expected, desired, or intended. Despite his tendency to ramble and veer off into inappropriate tangents, his speech remained on the rails, evoking downright poetic imagery as he spoke on behalf of the men and women who had made the company what it was. It's remarkable that the team's winning formula has stayed on the rails for this many years, as they continue winning championship after championship. His overbearing parents keep a close eye on him to make sure he keeps on the rails and completes his law degree without distraction.
See also: on, rail

on the rails

mainly BRITISH
1. If something stays on the rails, it continues to be as successful as it has been in the past. So why have these companies remained on the rails while others have failed? Note: If something is back on the rails, it is beginning to be successful again after a period when it almost failed. Co-ordinated action is needed more than ever to put the European economy back on the rails.
2. If someone stays on the rails, they live and behave in a way which is acceptable. She was in a steady relationship and that kept her on the rails. Note: If someone is back on the rails, their life is going well again after a period when it was going badly. I was released from prison last year and I'm now back on the rails with my own apartment and a part-time job.
See also: on, rail

on the rails

1 behaving or functioning in a normal or regulated way. informal 2 (of a racehorse or jockey) in a position on the racetrack nearest the inside fence.
See also: on, rail
References in classic literature ?
I have listened for hours to this most pertinacious pedlar (I wonder whether he is dead or has made a fortune), while sitting on the rail of the old Duke of S- (she's dead, poor thing
Daughtry, one hand on the rail, with his free arm clasped the Ancient Mariner around the waist.
Nishikanta leaned cursing against the side of the cabin, the nails of both hands torn off at the quick by the breaking of his grip on the rail.
We exchanged nothing more than good-mornings, and, though he could not see, he sat on the rail out of the way and followed by the sound all that I did.
Seated on the rail, with their hands in their pockets and their backs turned to Mr.