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The guardrails are coming off

This one is from a CNN news story:  “The White House official who was in contact with CNN’s Brown said that with the impending departures of both Chief of Staff John Kelly and Mattis, there is a feeling that the guardrails are coming off. The official says “of course it’s crazy. Anyone looking at this has got to think there’s some craziness going on.”https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/22/politics/shutdown-mattis-whitaker-trump/index.htm
This is a congruent conflation of “off the rails” and “the wheels are coming off”,  both meaning a state of chaos or disorder.   The words “rails” and “wheels” were confused, probably due to the association of both of them (wheels on a railroad car).  Of course, if the guardrails are removed, a state of chaos would probably ensue.  A big thanks to Ron MacDonald for spotting this one.
  
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The investigation has really hit the rails

This mix up, concerning the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the US presidential election, was heard on NPR.  It’s a mashup of “off the rails” (in a state of disorder or chaos) and “hit the fan” (become a scandal).  Not sure which idiom the speaker intended, as both could fit in context.  Perhaps the speaker had a mental image of the hobo catching a ride on a train and “hitting the rails”.  A tip of the toque to JoErin Mahokey for hearing this one and passing it on!

P.S.  Yvonne Stam, frequent contributor, added this additional explanation: “I would offer ‘hit the wall’ (reach a point of exhaustion) and ‘hit a wall’ (unable to make further progress) as well.”  Agreed!  Thanks Yvonne!