July 7, 2012 | In: Science facts
The history of rail transport dates back 500 years ago, and includes systems with man or animal power, and mostly wood and stone rails. Modern rail transport appeared in the first half of the 19th century, in England. At first, trains carried freight only.
The first train was the steam based engine locomotive, which was the first type of mechanized transportation and it remained so for the next 100 years.
And now, let’s see some interesting stuff about those hauling locomotives:
In 1825 the Stockton and Darlington Railway in England started to operate regular services for passengers. George Stephenson designed a steam locomotive called “Locomotion” to pull passenger cars.
The world’s most famous train is The Orient Express.
The largest train ever built was the Big Boys. It was in service between 1941 and 1944. It carried enormous freight trains that weighed about 3,960 tons! It also went up steep slopes in the Rocky Mountains. The locomotive and tender were almost 131 feet long and 16 feet high. It almost weighed 594 tons. It could run up to 80 miles per hour. The last stake was driven in at Promontory, Utah for the Continental Railroad, it stretched all the way across America.
The history of train transportation was forever changed when the TGV appeared in France. It was developed in the 1970s. A TGV test train set the record for the fastest wheeled train, reaching an astounding 357.2 mph. But that was just a test. When on service, the TGV usually travels with an average speed of 175 mph.
But still, it isn’t the fastest train on Earth. Believe it or not, the Maglev holds that record, reaching the speed of 361 mph. The most interesting thing about this train is that it doesn’t have any wheels. It’s based on magnetic levitation. I’ll return to it soon.