Never Despise The Small Beginnings Of The Train!
From the starting point when trains were first invented, many different types of engines where created to find out which one would work the best.
It was from this period in time, circa 1760, that Steam Engine Trains were first engineered.
But let’s not forget the humble beginnings of how the train evolved! Let’s backtrack a bit, similar to shunting – but more on that another time!
It started when it was considered that shanks pony, horse riding and donkeys were considered too slow to transport bigger and heavier items from one destination to another.
Enter the wooden planks on wheels, running on two wooden parallel rails built from one point to another to run continuously without hindrance.
One of the main items transported in the 16th Century that brought this about, was coal from the coal mines. The coal was transported in coco-pans which ran on wooden rails in and out of the mine, first made of wood and later made of cast iron.
It wasn’t until the mid 18th Century that plates of cast iron were used to reinforce the surface of wooden railways.
At this point in time an upgrade for the mode of transportation was needed in order to transport extremely heavy and long steel bars for which the wooden planks and wooden coco-pans did not suffice and they were very slow.
Enter The Age Of The Steam Engine Train!
This invention was inspired by the steam engine used to pump water out of mines. The Steam Engine Train had an added feature of being able to power a wheel instead of the wheel running freely and having to be empowered by human beings.
As engines go, there needs to be a piston in play and the engineers improved the construction of boilers so that high-pressured steam could directly move a piston.
At the start of the 19th Century, the first railway steam engine was built, and thus ensued the first railway journey by steam engine train.
Quite a few new inventions came about at this time, to name a few who invented:
- Richard Trevithick – England – First Steam Engine Train Invented
- Matthew Murray – England – Salamanca Twin Cylinder
- Christopher Blackett and William Hedley – Puffing Billy Adhesion Only
- George Stephenson – Bluecher / Locomotion / Rocket With Flanged Wheel Adhesion
You have to keep in mind that these Steam Engine Trains were humongous in size and because they were made of iron, they were extremely heavy to say the least.
These trains became world renown and George Stephenson became highly famous because of his inventions. Transporting goods became a lot easier and the engines became bigger and more powerful.
Many were the joys and highlights of the Steam Engine Trains and enjoyed by all, however, there were downsides and the main one was pollution.
Enter The Age Of The Electric Powered Engine Trains!
It was therefore a great welcome in the 1830’s when Robert Davidson of Scotland invented the first Electric Train powered by galvanic battery cells. He named his largest electric train Galvani after the type of batteries used.
This new electric train could haul 6 tons travelling at 6km per hour for 2km. Tragically, this new invention was vandalized as it posed a threat to railway employees.
Enter The Age Of The Tramway Trains!
In Berlin 1879 Werner Von Siemens built the first electric tramway.
This was powered by overhead electric wire suspended all the way along the track from the station to the intended destination.
The 19th Century also saw great inventive talent coming from the United States of America. Frank Sprague designed and pioneered the Richmond Union Passenger Railway with electric trolleys.
Enter The Age Of The Underground Subways!
Emerging as one of the more popular modes of transport were underground subways, obviously steam engine trains were out of the question due to pollution, so the next best solution was to use electricity.
This proved very popular with subway trains and street trams.
Some noteworthy inventors of Electric Trains are:
- Charles Brown – Switzerland – Electric Long Distance 3 Phase AC
- Kalman Kando – Hungarian – 3 Phase Tramway Electric Motors and Generators
For SNCF fans, it is interesting to note here at this point in time that the evolving invention of AC Traction eventually resulted in the current day SNCF.
As the world evolved and there were different commodities invented for powering various forms of engines, petroleum and diesel were fast becoming popular in comparison to steam run engines.
Enter The Age Of The Diesel Powered Engine Trains!
Diesel powered engines were introduced in about 1888 when William Priestman designed a prototype of a combustion engine using diesel.
It wasn’t until 1906 when Rudolf Diesel and others began to build diesel engines for trains. The first diesel engine train’s journey came about in 1912 in Switzerland.
Great Diesel Engine Trains to take note of are:
- Diesel-Sulzer-Klose – Switzerland – Diesel Powered Locomotive
- Hermann Lemp – Germany – Diesel-Electric Locomotives
Enter The Age Of The High-Speed Rail Engine Trains!
The brilliant minds of the far eastern countries came into play in the mid 20th Century. They had been taking part in this unspoken competition and they came up with High-Speed Rail which was introduce in 1964. Today they celebrate 54 years since their invention of Tokaido Shinkansen.
The age old adage of humanity following the path of least resistance lives on through the ages as Aeroplane Flights took over the ever popular Passenger Liner services, so High-Speed Rail took over short Aeroplane Flights as it was quicker and easier.
Enter The Age Of The Maglevs!
Even faster and better and way above our expectations is the Maglev – short for Magnetic Levitation. All this means is that the train hovers above a monorail driven by the force of magnets which elevate it.
These trains are among the fastest trains out there and arguably, they are not really trains. Many people enjoy the fast paced life and need to be doing so much before their life ends that they revel and thrive on the speed of the Maglevs today.
Are Hydro Trains The Next Best Mode Of Transport?
A point to mull over, are Hydro Trains the next best thing in our world where we try to be bio-friendly and save the world from pollution? What are your thoughts? Leave your comments below we’d love to hear from you!
Nostalgia creeps in with each one of these eras as one looks back and wonders what life would have been like in those days.
There are many transport and train museums that will help you to relive that memory, there are even some of those trains still operating today that you may be able to take your great rail journey on today!
Take your time to visit our website, maybe you’ll find one of those trains available to help your dreams come true at Train Lovers Paradise!