Railways have contributed to much of today's trade, business and commerce. From the mass transportation of resources like coal, gravel and earth to the everyday hustle and bustle of commuters in major cities around the world, trains have made the transport of just about anything possible.
Now new trains are being constructed that can even shuttle people and goods in-between islands. Here's a brief look at the engineering marvels that made train shipping and transport possible.
Railways have been around for quite some time; to be exact they have been around for hundreds of years. However trains have evolved from what they originally were to more modern technology styled carts. The earliest of train stations dates all the way back to 600 BC.
This is when men used groves of limestone with carts to transport carts with animals and other items in them. The limestone tracks were used to ensure that nothing was dropped out of the carts. This was just the start of what we now know as the modern railways. The next types of railways begin to be structured in Germany around the mid-1500s.
These were the trains that were known as mine rails which were used for mining purposes. These mining carts operated on wooden tracks. They were known back then as wagon ways. The first railway that looks very much like the railways that we know today was located in Shropshire; it was developed around 1605. This railway was known to carry coal and transport it throughout various places of Europe.
After this development, the railways became the main way of transporting a number of heavy goods to many different places throughout the country. It was the best known way to carry heavy goods.
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At the start of the 19th century Britain had 2400km (1500 miles) of industrial railway – the next 50 years were to see a massive expansion of the railways that revolutionised transport in Britain and across the world. The world's first public goods railway authorised by Act of Parliament, the Surrey Iron Railway, was opened in 1803.
Iron rails replaced the unstable wooden rails and William Jessop designed a system of square rails with wagon wheels having flanges on their inside edge. However, the only power to pull the wagons remained the horse. - a situation that was soon to change.
Building on the stationary steam engine pioneering work of Thomas Newcomen and James Watt, a Cornishman called Richard Trevithick built the world's first steam locomotive in 1803. His second locomotive, called 'New Castle', was the first to be put to practical use when it began hauling iron a year later at the Pen- y-darren Iron Works in South Wales.
In 1807, South Wales also saw the operation of the Oystermouth Railway – the world's first railway to carry fare- paying passengers- although the wagons were still hauled by horses! By 1808, Trevithick had perfected his design, incorporating his innovation of a chimney to remove the exhaust gases, and exhibited his engine Catch Me Who Can to the high society of London.
The world's first commercial use of steam locomotives occurred on the Middleton Railway, where in 1812 Matthew Murray's locomotive, Salamanca, came into operation using a rack and pinion method of traction (used later for mountain railways) devised by John Blenkinsop.
One of the many visitors to Leeds who came to see the rail operation was a young man called George Stephenson, an engine -wright at Killingworth colliery near Newcastle-upon Tyne. George Stephenson started building engines and his first called Blucher took to the rails in 1814 at Killingworth Colliery. At nearby Wylam colliery, William Hedley also built engines, the first of which named Grasshopper made an appearance a year earlier.
George Stephenson eventually became engineer of the Stockton & Darlington Railway that came into being in 1821. In 1823 he opened the world's first railway locomotive construction company run by his son, Robert, to build a locomotive for the railway.
On 27 September 1825 on the Stockton to Darlington line, the engine Locomotion driven by George Stephenson became the world's first steam locomotive to haul passengers on a public railway. 500 passengers were carried mostly in open goods wagons, although a lucky few sat in a purpose built passenger coach called the Experiment.
The train was led by a man on horseback carrying a flag and it reached a speed of 24kph (15 mph). The first railway line to be built between two cities was constructed from Liverpool to Manchester a distance of 48km (30 miles).
The building of the line involved significant engineering expertise to cross Chat Moss bog, the Sankey Valley and cut through solid rock at Olive Mount The term navvies (named after the navigators who had cut out the canals) was applied for the first time to the hundreds of travelling workmen, many from Ireland, who achieved this feat using little more than spades and pickaxes!
Before the line was opened, the owners decided to hold locomotive trials to see which engine they would choose for their new railway. The famous Rainhill Trials were held in September 1829 over a distance of 4km (21/2 miles) before crowds of upto 15,000! There were five entrants – Sans Pareil built by Timothy Hackworth from Shildon, Novelty entered by John Braithwaite, Timothy Burstall's Perseverance, Cyclopede ( a treadmill worked by two horses!) and the legendary Rocket built by George and Robert Stephenson.
The winner was the Rocket and in September 1830 the Liverpool to Manchester line was opened with George Stephenson at the controls of Northumbrian. As a result of the trials the Stephensons went on to construct eight locomotives for the railway.
Four months earlier a small local line between Canterbury and Whitstable had opened mainly carrying freight. However the Liverpool- Manchester line was the world's first true railway carrying passengers and freight over some distance on a double track line of metal rails.
The first railway line to be built between two cities was constructed from Liverpool to Manchester a distance of 48km (30 miles). The building of the line involved significant engineering expertise to cross Chat Moss bog, the Sankey Valley and cut through solid rock at Olive Mount.
The term navvies (named after the navigators who had cut out the canals) was applied for the first time to the hundreds of travelling workmen, many from Ireland, who achieved this feat using little more than spades and pickaxes! Before the line was opened, the owners decided to hold locomotive trials to see which engine they would choose for their new railway.
The famous Rainhill Trials were held in September 1829 over a distance of 4km (21/2 miles) before crowds of upto 15,000! There were five entrants – Sans Pareil built by Timothy Hackworth from Shildon, Novelty entered by John Braithwaite, Timothy Burstall's Perseverance, Cyclopede ( a treadmill worked by two horses!) and the legendary Rocket built by George and Robert Stephenson.
The winner was the Rocket and in September 1830 the Liverpool to Manchester line was opened with George Stephenson at the controls of Northumbrian. As a result of the trials the Stephensons went on to construct eight locomotives for the railway.
Four months earlier a small local line between Canterbury and Whitstable had opened mainly carrying freight. However the Liverpool- Manchester line was the world's first true railway carrying passengers and freight over some distance on a double track line of metal rails.
For nearly three-quarters of a century the "Flying Scotsman" has left King's Cross for Edinburgh. It is doubtful if this record can be challenged by any other train in the world. The details of the journey were disturbed only during the short period at the end of the War when, owing to the imperative need of reducing train services, the "Scotsman" was combined with a train to Leeds and Bradford, and the starting time was temporarily altered to 9.30 a.m.
Except for that break, this famous express has made its daily departure at 10 a.m. since June, 1862, from No. 10 platform at King's Cross, while the up "Scotsman," inaugurated at the same date has, with the exception of a short period during its earlier history, started from the Waverley Station, Edinburgh, at the same hour for London.
Since then nearly 45,000 journeys have been made, and the "Flying Scotsman" has travelled for a total of eighteen million miles between London and Edinburgh alone, apart from the still longer journeys of the portions of the train which run through to Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen. Every year the mileage run by the "Flying Scotsman" between the English and Scottish capitals would be sufficient to take each of the two trains on the service roughly five times round the world.
During this long life tremendous changes have taken place. When the "Flying Scotsman" first ran, the coaches of which it was composed were six-wheelers ; corridors had not been heard of and dining cars were unknown.
Not until 1900 was a really up-to-date seven-coach train, made up entirely of twelve-wheeled cars carried on six-wheeled bogies, introduced to the service. These fine vehicles were 64 ft. 6 in. long, of an American pattern, with bow-end and the American "buck-eye" type of steel-coupling, which has been standard ever since for main-line stock on the East Coast route, and is one of the secrets of the smooth travelling for which these East Coast trains have been famous.
Until 1900 the "Flying Scotsman" had always stopped for twenty minutes at York while its passengers ate a hasty lunch in the station dining-room ; but dining cars were included with the new coaches and the stop at York was cut from twenty minutes to under ten minutes. The seven-coach train of 1900 weighed 265 tons, and added at least 30 per cent to the weight of the trains that had been in use up till then.
By 1914, amalgamation had continued to such an extent that over 1,000 small railway companies were absorbed, under the watchful eye of the then President of the Board of Trade, Winston Churchill. From 1923, the remaining companies were grouped into 'the big four' - The Great Western Railway, The London and North Eastern Railway, The London, Midland and Scottish Railway and The Southern Railway - who ran the networks separately, until 1947, when the managements united to form one company.
This company was nationalised under the British Transport Commission and remained that way until the 1990's, when privatisation saw passenger operations franchised to 25 individual private sector operators. Today's rail network transports over 1 billion people per year, as well as freight and cargo, over 10, 300 miles of track that serve over 2,500 stations.
With the changes in rail technology, new rail jobs have been created. Rail vacancies in 1847 would certainly have advertised for 'navvies' to lay the miles of track, but there were other railway jobs available. Railway engineering is a specific and skilled job that, when combined with the construction industry, saw the rise of civil engineering.
The need for lawyers to sort out the contentious issues of land ownership, sale and conveyancing helped the emergence of accountancy as a separate profession. For the millions of people around the world that travel by train for business, leisure, and other reasons on a daily basis, there is often a lack of appreciation for the advancement of rail technology.
This lack of appreciation is not exclusive to passengers and railway professionals often overlook how far their industry has come in such a short time. After all, rail travel was not commercially viable until the middle of the 19th century and was only made paramount to national travel after World War I. While some travellers take the train to get from one place to another without the hassles of driving, tourists and others see the train as a connection to a humbler past.
James Watt, a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer, was responsible for improvements to the steam engine of Thomas Newcomen, hitherto used to pump water out of mines. Watt developed a reciprocating engine, capable of powering a wheel. Although the Watt engine powered cotton mills and a variety of machinery, it was a large stationary engine.
It could not be otherwise; the state of boiler technology necessitated the use of low pressure steam acting upon a vacuum in the cylinder, and this mode of operation needed a separate condenser and an air pump. Nevertheless, as the construction of boilers improved, he investigated the use of high pressure steam acting directly upon a piston.
This raised the possibility of a smaller engine, that might be used to power a vehicle, and he actually patented a design for a steam locomotive in 1784. His employee William Murdoch produced a working model of a self propelled steam carriage in that year.
Robert Stephenson FRS (16 October 1803 – 12 October 1859) was an English civil engineer. He was the only son of George Stephenson, the famed locomotive builder and railway engineer; many of the achievements popularly credited to his father were actually the joint efforts of father and son.
He was born in 1803 at Willington Quay, east of Newcastle Upon Tyne, the only son of George Stephenson and his wife, Fanny. At the time, George and Fanny were living in a single room and George was working as a brakesman on a stationary colliery engine. In 1804 the family moved to a cottage in West Moor when George was made brakesman at Killingworth Colliery.
In 1805 Fanny gave birth to a daughter who died after a few weeks. The next year Robert’s mother died of consumption. George then went and worked in Scotland for a short time, leaving the infant Robert with a local woman. However, George soon returned to West Moor, and his sister Nelly came to live at the cottage to look after Robert. George had received virtually no formal education and he was determined that his son would have the education that he lacked.
At a young age, George expected Robert to read books that were extremely difficult and learn how to read technical drawings. Because of his great aptitude for engineering, George was promoted in 1812 to be an enginewright, a skilled job with responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the colliery machinery. His wages were therefore much improved.
Robert was sent to a two-room primary school run by Mr and Mrs Rutter in Longbenton, near Killingworth until the age of eleven. George's success in locomotive engineering gave him the ability to enroll Robert in a private academy.
He was then sent to Doctor Bruce’s Academy in Percy Street, Newcastle. This was a private institution and Robert would have been studying alongside the children of well-off families. Surprisingly his fellow pupils failed to see any remarkable signs of talent. Whilst at the Academy, Robert became a reading member of the nearby Literary and Philosophical Society. Robert had minimal education compared to today's engineers, but proved to be a very successful engineer.
Father and son studied together in the evenings, improving George’s understanding of science as well as Robert’s. They also built a sundial together, which they placed above the front door of their cottage. The cottage subsequently became known as Dial Cottage. It is preserved today as a monument to them.
The company was set up in 1823 in Forth Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England by George Stephenson, his son Robert, with Edward Pease and Michael Longridge (the owner of the ironworks at Bedlington). It was founded as part of their construction of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
Its first engine was Locomotion No 1, which opened the line, followed by three more named Hope, Black Diamond and Diligence. The vertical cylinders meant that these locos rocked excessively and at the Hetton colliery railway Stephenson had introduced "steam springs" which had proved unsatisfactory.
In 1828 he introduced the "Experiment" with inclined cylinders, which improved stability, and meant that it could be mounted on springs. Originally four wheeled, it was modified for six and another, Victory was built. Around this time, two locomotives were built for America.
The first, a four coupled loco named America, was ordered by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. The second, six-coupled and named Whistler was for the Boston and Providence Rail Road but was lost at sea.
Britain's Railway History is of particular significance since Britain in many ways can justifiably claim to have ‘given railways to the world’. What was to become the world’s standard gauge – 4ft 81/2in (1435 mm) – was first established at Willington Colliery near Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1764. It was also in Britain that the key technological advances were made – in particular iron (and, later, steel) rails, and the steam locomotive – that allowed the locomotive to be developed as a complete transportation system.
The understanding of the interface between the metal rail and wheel has continued to be refined in Britain, leading to significant further international breakthroughs. In addition, innumerable industrial and social changes resulted from the development of the railway – such as the standardisation of time within a state. Railway companies established hotels, shipping lines, road services and, later, even air and hovercraft services.
Much of this story may be seen interpreted at the National Railway Museum at York – winner of the 2001 European Museum of the Year (the first national railway museum to be so honoured), which houses the largest railway collection of any museum in the world. Certainly Britain possesses one of the world’s richest collections of railway records – probably the finest collection of records of any major industry in the world.
Britain’s railways were also unusual, at least in Europe, insofar as the government played little part in their development as a network. By 1914, more than 20,000 route miles existed, built up piece by piece on the initiative of more than 1,000 separate entrepreneurial companies (albeit many were owned and/or operated by larger companies – and the maximum that existed at any one given time was 476, in 1867).
Vigorous competition had led to cities, towns, and even many villages boasting railway stations and lines belonging to more than one company. Inevitably, there were many mergers – and some company failures. Inter-company rivalries gave passengers choice and tended to promote better services on individual routes; as exemplified above, however, they could also lead to the quite unjustified over-provision of facilities.
From the early years of this century, railway companies were already seeing the advantages of working together and began to enter into closer working arrangements. During the First World War there was a high degree of government control. This period exhausted the railways, and after the war was over it was clear that a new approach was needed.
In 1923, 150 or so of the main railway companies were grouped into the ‘Big Four’: the Great Western, the London Midland & Scottish, the London & North Eastern, and the Southern. The LMS became the Empire’s largest joint stock company.
Then in 1948, following the further exhaustion of the Second World War, the Big Four were finally nationalised and combined into one organisation: British Railways, part of a new British Transport Commission. In 1962, a self-standing British Railways Board was formed. Thus from the earliest times, Britain has frequently been at the leading edge of railway organisational.
Of the four great railways formed in 1923 by the Railways Act of 1921, the London, Midland and Scottish is the largest. It is the only British railway serving England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Excluding the Irish Northern Counties Committee and certain joint lines, its route mileage is 6,758, and its total length, reduced to single track, is 18,921 miles. The L.M.S. is made up of seven constituent and twenty-seven subsidiary companies.
The seven constituent companies absorbed in 1923 were the London and North Western, the Midland, the North Staffordshire, and the Furness Railways in England, and the Caledonian, Glasgow and South Western, and Highland Railways in Scotland. Many of these had already assimilated scores of smaller lines. The London and North Western, for example, was made up of about a hundred companies.
Its last acquisitions were the Lancashire and Yorkshire and North London Railways, taken over on the eve of the general amalgamation. Some years before the war of 1914-18 the Midland absorbed the London, Tilbury and Southend and the Belfast and Northern Counties Railways.
Of the constituent companies the London and North Western, generally accorded the title of "the premier line." was the largest, with a route mileage of 1,807 in 1921. Next in order of length were the Midland, with 1,529, and the Caledonian, with 896 route miles. The corresponding figures for the other constituent companies were Highland 485, Glasgow and South Western 449, North Staffordshire 206, and Furness 115. The route mileage of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1920 was 533. , or business organisational, change.
By 1900, America's railroads were very nearly at their peak, both in terms of overall mileage and employment. In the 20 years leading up to World War I, however, the foundations of railroading would change drastically. New technology would be introduced, and the nation would go to war, during which time the railroads would be run by the government. Most significantly, the railroads would enter the age of government regulation.
The dawn of the twentieth century was, for the most part, eagerly anticipated by America. There was much to celebrate. Things were going well for business, and that meant there was employment for almost everyone. Railroads capitalized on the prosperity with colorful brochures promoting top-notch passenger trains. The West was glorified as the nation's wonderland, regularly being featured in railroad-commissioned paintings and in the pages of numerous magazines.
Posters featuring dreamy damsels lured vacationers to exotic destinations like California, while fast "Limiteds" raced business travelers across the land. The nation's railroads were still growing. By 1900, more than 195,000 miles of track were in service, and there were still another 16 years of expansion ahead. The biggest opportunities existed in the West and in the South, where large portions of the landscape were still lightly populated.
The Shinkansen also known as "the bullet train" is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the 210 km/h (130 mph) Tokaido Shinkansen in 1964, the now 2,459 km (1,528 mi) long network has expanded to link most major cities on the islands of Honshu and Kyushu at speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph).
Test runs have reached 443 km/h (275 mph) for conventional rail in 1996, and up to a world record 581 km/h (361 mph) for maglev trainsets in 2003. Shinkansen literally means "New Trunk Line", referring to the tracks, but the name is widely used inside and outside Japan to refer to the trains as well as the system as a whole.
The name "Superexpress" initially used for Hikari trains, was retired in 1972 but is still used in English-language announcements and signage. The Tokaido Shinkansen is the world's busiest high-speed rail line. Carrying 151 million passengers a year (March 2008), it has transported more passengers (over 6 billion) than any other high speed line in the world. Between Tokyo and Osaka, the two largest metropolises in Japan, up to ten trains per hour with 16 cars each (1,300 seats capacity) run in each direction with a minimum of 3 minutes between trains.
Though largely a long-distance transport system, the Shinkansen also serves commuters who travel to work in metropolitan areas from outlying cities.
Full UK Government approval was granted in 1996 for the two sections of the 69-mile (108km) high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL). The opening date of the first phase, 43km, was 28 September 2003, with the rest four years afterwards. Speeds of up to 186mph (300km/hr) make the journey time from London's Waterloo International station to Paris, Lille and Brussels up to 20 minutes quicker (fastest journey times of 1hr 40min to Lille, 2hr 20min to Brussels and 2hr 35min to Paris).
After 11 years of financial and political turmoil, the £1.9 billion project suddenly moved forward after the signing by London & Continental Railways (LCR) in October 1999 of construction contracts for the new line from the Channel Tunnel to Fawkham Junction in north-west Kent.
The project was originated by London & Continental Railways, a consortium of eight major shareholders, including design and planning consultancy Ove Arup and Partners, engineering firm Bechtel, train and transport operators Virgin and National Express, investment bank SBG Warburg and French rail project manager Systra.
Control passed to the newly-formed Network Rail in 2002. Four civil engineering contracts were awarded for Section 1 - the East Thames to Medway Valley connection, River Medway crossing, North Downs Tunnel and the Ashford station area realignment. CTRL is basically a French-style LGV high-speed line linking London with the Channel Tunnel portal at Dollands Moor near Folkestone. Although Section 1 is relatively straightforward and follows existing transport corridors such as the M2 motorway, Section 2 requires large amounts of tunnelling under the River Thames and under East and North London.
The British Channel Tunnel Group consisted of two banks and five construction companies, while their French counterparts, France–Manche, consisted of three banks and five construction companies. The role of the banks was to advise on financing and secure loan commitments. On 2 July 1985, the groups formed Channel Tunnel Group/France–Manche (CTG/F–M).
Their submission to the British and French governments was drawn from the 1975 project, including 11 volumes and a substantial environmental impact statement. The design and construction was done by the ten construction companies in the CTG/F-M group. The French terminal and boring from Sangatte was undertaken by the five French construction companies in the joint venture group GIE Transmanche Construction.
The English Terminal and boring from Shakespeare Cliff was undertaken by the five British construction companies in the Trankslink Joint Venture. The two partnerships were linked by TransManche Link (TML), a bi-national project organisation. The Maître d'Oeuvre was a supervisory engineering body employed by Eurotunnel under the terms of the concession that monitored project activity and reported back to the governments and banks.
Because a stiff wheel rolling on a rigid rail requires less energy per ton-mile moved than road transport (with a highly compliant wheel on an uneven surface), railroads are highly suitable for the movement of bulk goods such as coal and other minerals. This was incentive to focus a great deal of inventiveness upon the possible configurations and shapes of wheels and rails. In the late 1760s, the Coalbrookdale Company began to fix plates of cast iron to the upper surface of the wooden rails.
These (and earlier railways) had flanged wheels as on modern railways, but another system was introduced, in which unflanged wheels ran on L-shaped metal plates - these became known as plateways. John Curr, a Sheffield colliery manager, invented this flanged rail, though the exact date of this is disputed. The plate rail was taken up by Benjamin Outram for wagonways serving his canals, manufacturing them at his Butterley ironworks. Meanwhile William Jessop, a civil engineer, had used a form of edge rail successfully for an extension to the Charnwood Forest Canal at Nanpantan, Loughborough, Leicestershire in 1789.
Jessop became a partner in the Butterley Company in 1790. The flanged wheel eventually proved its superiority due to its performance on curves, and the composite iron/wood rail was replaced by all metal rail, with its vastly superior stiffness, durability, and safety.
As the colliery and quarry tramways and wagon ways grew longer, the possibility of using the technology for the public conveyance of goods suggested itself. On 26 July 1803, Jessop opened the Surrey Iron Railway in south London - arguably, the world's first public railway, albeit a horse-drawn one. It was not a railway in the modern sense of the word, as it functioned like a turnpike road.
There were no official services, as anyone could bring a vehicle on the railway by paying a toll. In 1812 Oliver Evans, an American engineer and inventor, published his vision of what steam railways could become, with cities and towns linked by a network of long distance railways plied by speedy locomotives, greatly reducing the time required for personal travel and for transport of goods.
Evans specified that there should be separate sets of parallel tracks for trains going in different directions. Unfortunately, conditions in the infant United States did not enable his vision to take hold. This vision had its counterpart in Britain, where it proved to be far more influential. William James, a rich and influential surveyor and land agent, was inspired by the development of the steam locomotive to suggest a national network of railways.
It seems likely in 1808 James attended the demonstration running of Richard Trevithick’s steam locomotive Catch me who can in London; certainly at this time he began to consider the long-term development of this means of transport. He was responsible for proposing a number of projects that later came to fruition, and he is credited with carrying out a survey of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Unfortunately, he became bankrupt and his schemes were taken over by George Stephenson and others. However, he is credited by many historians with the title of "Father of the Railway".
Of all the inventions of ancient or modern times none have more importantly and beneficently influenced the affairs of mankind than the double acting high pressure steam engine, the locomotive, the steam railway system, and the steamboat, all of which inventions are of American origin.
The first three are directly and the last indirectly associated with a patent that was granted by the State of Maryland, in 1787, being the very year of the framing of the Constitution of the United States. In view of the momentous nature of the services which these four inventions have rendered to the material and national interests of the people of the United States, it is to be hoped that neither they nor their origin will be forgotten in the coming celebration of the centennial of the framing of the Constitution.
The high pressure steam engine in its stationary form is almost ubiquitous in America. In all great iron and steel works, in all factories, in all plants for lighting cities with electricity, in brief, wherever in the United States great power in compact form is wanted, there will be found the high pressure steam engine furnishing all the power that is required, and more, too, if more is demanded, because it appears to be equal to every human requisition. But go beyond America.
Go to Great Britain, and the American steam engine - although it is not termed American in Great Britain - will be found fast superseding the English engine - in other words, James Watt's condensing engine. It is the same the world over.
On all the earth there is not a steam locomotive that could turn a wheel but for the fact that, in common with every locomotive from the earliest introduction of that invention, it is simply the American steam engine put on wheels, and it was first put on wheels by its American inventor, Oliver Evans, being the same Oliver Evans to whom the State of Maryland granted the before mentioned patent of 1787.
Experiments with electrical railways were started by Robert Davidson in 1838. He completed a battery-powered carriage capable of 6.4 km/h (4 mph). The Giant's Causeway Tramway was the first to use electricity fed to the trains en-route, using a third rail, when it opened in 1883. Overhead wires were taken into use in 1888. At first this was taken into use on tramways, that until then had been horse-hauled horsecars. The first conventional electrified railway was the Roslag Line in Sweden.
During the 1890s, many large cities, such as London, Paris and New York used the new technology to build rapid transit for urban commuting. In smaller cities, tramways became common, and were often the only mode of public transport until the introduction of buses in the 1920s.
In North America, interurbans became a common mode to reach suburban areas. At first all electric railways used direct current, but in 1904, the Spubeital Line in Austria opened with alternating current.
The Los Angeles Railway The Los Angeles Railway (LARY — pronounced "Larry") was the streetcar system around which central L.A. was developed. LARY used a yellow paint scheme — hence LARY was known as the "Yellow Car" system. Los Angeles area real estate and utility tycoon Henry Huntington gained control of LARY in 1898. The streetcar system grew rapidly through the first decade of the 20th century, when the population of Los Angeles more than tripled.
After Huntington's death in 1927, the streetcar system was owned by the Huntington Estate (operator of the museum and library in San Marino) until its sale to National City Lines in 1944, at which time it was renamed Los Angeles Transit Lines.
The Pacific Electric "Red Car" system has become legendary in the history of Los Angeles. But in reality LARY/LATL had a much higher ridership — nearly three times as high. During the 1940s about a million people lived within about a half mile of the bus and streetcar lines of LARY/LATL.
By 1950 some LATL bus lines penetrated as far as Beverly Hills on the westside, and the 5 streetcar line — the longest line — reached 13 miles south to Hawthorne. But for the most part LARY/LATL services were concentrated in the area that today would be called "central Los Angeles", and it covered this area fairly intensively.
The all-time high transit ridership in central Los Angeles was achieved in 1946 when there were 424 transit rides per person handled by Los Angeles Railway, local central Los Angeles routes of Pacific Electric, and the jointly owned Los Angeles Motor Coach. By 1950 the level of transit ridership had returned to roughly the same level as the '30s — 249 transit rides for every man, woman and child in central Los Angeles.
This is still quite high by present-day standards. This would be higher than all cities in the USA at present other than San Francisco and New York. The '50s and '60s were the era when transit ridership crashed in Los Angeles.
The all time low was reached in 1969 when the central Los Angeles portion of the bus network handled only 96 transit rides per person for the year. One advantage of electrification is the lack of pollution from the locomotives themselves. Electrification also results in higher performance, lower maintenance costs, and lower energy costs for electric locomotives.
Power plants, even if they burn fossil fuels, are far cleaner than mobile sources such as locomotive engines. Also the power for electric locomotives can come from clean and/or renewable sources, including geothermal power, hydroelectric power, nuclear power, solar power, and wind turbines.
Electric locomotives are also quiet compared to diesel locomotives since there is no engine and exhaust noise and less mechanical noise. The lack of reciprocating parts means that electric locomotives are easier on the track, reducing track maintenance. Power plant capacity is far greater than what any individual locomotive uses, so electric locomotives can have a higher power output than diesel locomotives and they can produce even higher short-term surge power for fast acceleration. Electric locomotives are ideal for commuter rail service with frequent stops.
They are used on all high-speed lines, such as ICE in Germany, Acela in the US, Shinkansen in Japan and TGV in France. Electric locomotives are also used on freight routes that have a consistently high traffic volume, or in areas with advanced rail networks. Electric locomotives benefit from the high efficiency of electric motors, often above 90%.
Additional efficiency can be gained from regenerative braking, which allows kinetic energy to be recovered during braking to put some power back on the line. Newer electric locomotives use AC motor-inverter drive systems that provide for regenerative braking.
The chief disadvantage of electrification is the cost for infrastructure (overhead power lines or electrified third rail, substations, control systems). Public policy in the US currently interferes with electrification—higher property taxes are imposed on privately owned rail facilities if they have electrification facilities. Also, US regulations on diesel locomotives are very weak compared to regulations on automobile emissions or power plant emissions.
The Principal of the Third rail system Note the 3rd rail The idea is simple, an extra steel rail is laid along side the track, and its primary purpose is to carry electricity. Then on the trains a pick-up shoe sits on the rail which provides electricity to the train. The 3rd rail sits slightly higher up than the other rails, and instead of being supported by sleepers, it is supported by a series of insulating supports. Britain is the only country in the world with extensive 3rd rail electrification of main railways.
The reason for this was because back in the early part of this century, Southern Railways, who owned the railways in the south east of England launched a program to get rid of the steam engines. They decided to electrify all their lines.
Now of course back in those days no one had established the overhead wires system, the only example was the London Underground which used electricity carrying rails so Southern adopted that idea. So today we have third rail electric systems running at 750 V.
The Pick-up shoe The London Underground uses two electric rails, a positive and a negative direct current at 660 V, so it in fact has four rails. Most urban transport trains use a 3rd rail or a 3rd & 4th rail system.
Why is the Voltage lower for 3rd rail systems? The energy efficiency of transporting electricity is as mentioned before R/I2 (R is resistance, I is current) so it is always desirable to keep current low. However in the 3rd rail system the cross sectional area of the rail is much greater than a cable, this means the resistance is very much lower, so the need to keep the voltage high is generally not so important.
Being so close to the ground if the voltage was too high it would be very hard to insulate the rails and could lead to further energy losses. Advantages of 3rd rail: It is very cheap relatively speaking. Instead of having to construct a whole series of supports with wire suspended under high tension, all that's needed is to lay an extra railway down.
Also when railways go through tunnels it is very costly to build overhead lines as it often requires the roof of the tunnel to be raised, and the same goes for bridges. Disadvantages of 3rd rail: There are a number of disadvantages for using 3rd rail. Power is a key issue, for light local passenger trains its fine, but cannot supply enough power for really heavy freight trains.
Secondly speed, the 3rd rail is not continuous, it has to break for points and crossovers and sometimes to switch from one side to the other. Trains have to slow so that damage isn't caused to the shoe. Also 3rd rail trains are all limited to 100mph or 160km/h, not suitable for high speed. The class 73 is the only 3rd rail locomotive in the UK, and if you look at the locomotive list you can see that it is significantly less powerful than other electric's.
Mostly electrical multiple units use the 3rd rail system. So why hasn't 3rd rail caught on around the world? It may be cheap, but the problem is because of lack of power and speed, it doesn't offer much advantages over diesel trains, which is why electrification would be considered in the first place.
However for underground railway systems it has caught on, clearly diesels cannot run in closed tunnels without causing massive health problems, and because the tunnels in underground are generally small, there isn't room in the roof for overhead lines, so electric rails are ideal. The Diesel Electric Locomotive is the dominant type of locomotive in the world today.
But what does the term "Diesel-Electric" really mean? There have been five major types of locomotives used in the history of railroads; The Steam Locomotive, The Electric Locomotive, The Diesel (or gas) Torque-Converter Locomotive, The Turbine Electric Locomotive, and finally, the Diesel Electric. A steam locomotive burns coal or oil, converting water into steam, and then uses the steam to drive pistons, which are connected by drive rods to the wheels .
A straight electric locomotive, on the other hand, uses electricity provided by an overhead wire or "3rd rail" next to the tracks, to power electric motors (known as "traction motors") that are geared directly to its wheels.
Straight electric locomotives are usually very powerful, fast, and long-lived machines (The Pennsylvania RR's famous GG1 is a classic example of a straight electric). Our third type, the diesel or gas torque-converter locomotive uses some kind of internal combustion engine which is geared directly to the drive wheels using a "torque converter", more commonly known as a "clutch".
The disadvantages of this arrangement are many, as burning out a clutch 200 miles from your maintenance base would present obvious problems. The fourth type listed, the turbine-electric, is also one of the rarest types. The basic idea was to burn some kind of fuel to produce either steam or hot combustion gases, which were then passed through a turbine, which would spin at high speed.
The turbine would drive an electric generator, which would provide electricity to traction motors on the wheels of the locomotive. Some turbines burned coal, others burned oil, and most were experimental in nature.
The Union Pacific Railroad had a whole series of turbine-electrics that burned bunker C fuel. The last of their series were the most powerful locomotives ever built, at 10,000 h.p. each. Although successful, they had high maintenance costs, and used almost as much fuel at idle as they did at full throttle.
Finally we come the subject of this article, the diesel-electric locomotive. As you can probably guess by now, the diesel-electric uses a diesel engine to drive an electric generator, which then supplies the current to traction motors, which are geared directly to the locomotive's wheels.
One of the main advantages of this arrangement is that, since the engine is not directly attached to the wheels, starting a heavy train cannot "stall" the engine, as in the case of the torque-converter locomotive. The motors simply heat up until they start the train moving, at which point the current level drops.
Another advantage is that, unlike the straight electric locomotive, expensive and hard to maintain overhead wires (called "catenary") or third rails are not necessary. This is less of a factor in Europe, where distances are smaller, but since some North American railroads have tens of thousands of miles of track, it's a major consideration. And compared to a steam locomotive, Diesels require very little maintenance, and can be started up and shut down instantly.
Steam locomotives would take hours to build up a head of steam, and required frequent boiler rebuilds and costly maintenance by skilled shop forces. Diesel-electrics came into prominence in North America after the Second World War, when railroads, anxious to replace their war-worn fleets of locomotives, started looking carefully at the economics involved. Diesels, although of lower horsepower than modern steam engines, could be combined into multiple sets at will, all run by one crew.
Thus a group of three or four engines could be combined to run a large freight, and then broken up to run a number of local trains with one engine each. This offered more flexibility than steam, which required one complete crew for each engine, making running multiple engines very expensive. The much lower maintenance costs of diesels were also a deciding factor in railroads switching over to them. A much smaller list of skills was required to maintain diesels than were required to maintain steam engines. This meant lower employment numbers, and big savings in salaries.
Diesel-electrics started out in the 600-hp range, and the early ones were primarily switchers. The earliest examples were built in the late 1920's, and really didn't start to catch on until the late 1930's when railroads turned to diesel switchers to solve their problems with smoke in railroad yards located in major cities. At this time many cities had started fining the railroads for excessive smoke production.
All the smoke from steam engines really made life difficult for inner city dwellers and workers. After they had run the diesel switchers for a while, they started to notice the economics of these engines, but before they could experiment with them further, WWII broke out, and all further experimentation ceased.
In the U.S., Diesel manufacturers were ordered by the war production board to produce whatever products that they had already developed, which meant that some companies which had successful diesel switchers were stuck producing only switchers for the whole war. Others, which had concentrated on diesel road locomotives, enjoyed a head start on their competition, as they had the whole war to further refine their products.
After the war, the diesel-electric really took off. In the U.S. and Canada, General Motors rapidly became the dominant diesel locomotive builder, eventually putting most of its competition out of business. It's landmark FT locomotive was embraced wholeheartedly by North American railroads, and by the end of the 1950's steam was all but dead.
Railroads, once they decided to switch to diesel-electric, bought virtually anything that was available, including some fairly poorly designed products. Diesels by GM, Fairbanks Morse, American Locomotive Company, Lima, and General Electric were all over the continent. Eventually, all but GM and GE were eliminated from the market in the U.S. and Canada.
Today's diesel-electrics are impressive machines indeed. From the early days where a diesel road locomotive would be 1500-1700 h.p., we now see single diesels which have 6000 h.p. Modern diesels are high tech wonders, employing such features as ground radar to determine speed, feeding this information to computers that prevent the locomotive's wheels from slipping under heavy loads.
Other diesels are equipped to control additional "mid-train" helper locomotives by means of radio control, allowing one crew to run as many as three separate sets of locomotives at the same time. Nowadays, General Electric in Erie, PA is the number one locomotive builder in North America, followed by General Motors Diesel Division in London, Ontario.
Both builders have seen a boom in recent years, as railroads have expanded their markets for bulk commodities, truck trailers, and shipping containers. So it looks like the diesel-electric locomotive is here to stay! Go down to the tracks and check some out the next time you have the chance.
The Diesel Electric Locomotive is the dominant type of locomotive in the world today. But what does the term "Diesel-Electric" really mean? There have been five major types of locomotives used in the history of railroads; The Steam Locomotive, The Electric Locomotive, The Diesel (or gas) Torque-Converter Locomotive, The Turbine Electric Locomotive, and finally, the Diesel Electric.
A steam locomotive burns coal or oil, converting water into steam, and then uses the steam to drive pistons, which are connected by drive rods to the wheels. A straight electric locomotive, on the other hand, uses electricity provided by an overhead wire or "3rd rail" next to the tracks, to power electric motors (known as "traction motors") that are geared directly to its wheels. Straight electric locomotives are usually very powerful, fast, and long-lived machines (The Pennsylvania RR's famous GG1 is a classic example of a straight electric).
Our third type, the diesel or gas torque-converter locomotive uses some kind of internal combustion engine which is geared directly to the drive wheels using a "torque converter", more commonly known as a "clutch". The disadvantages of this arrangement are many, as burning out a clutch 200 miles from your maintenance base would present obvious problems.
The fourth type listed, the turbine-electric, is also one of the rarest types. The basic idea was to burn some kind of fuel to produce either steam or hot combustion gases, which were then passed through a turbine, which would spin at high speed.
The turbine would drive an electric generator, which would provide electricity to traction motors on the wheels of the locomotive. Some turbines burned coal, others burned oil, and most were experimental in nature. The Union Pacific Railroad had a whole series of turbine-electrics that burned bunker C fuel. The last of their series were the most powerful locomotives ever built, at 10,000 h.p. each. Although successful, they had high maintenance costs, and used almost as much fuel at idle as they did at full throttle.
If you desire to tour India then trains could serve you as a cost effective means. Indian Railways has earned international renown of operating world's largest railway network and extensive train services. Indian railway network operates busiest trains and serves nearly 10+6 million passengers per day. The best part is that trains reach the most remote corner of Indian peninsula while airways and bus services don't do so. Indian rail tickets are so cost effective, that you can book train tickets online for a 1st class or AC Tier luxury car on Indian trains for your entire family.
The rail fare charge is equivalent to the amount of air ticket for one passenger. Indian Railways began its journey in the year 1853 under British Rule when steam engines where a wonder to the entire world. After independence in 1947 Indian Railway System became fully nationalized under central government with 42 divisions. Today Indian trains run on world's longest railway network even upto remote villages.
Indian Railways has successfully covered rail tracks on an area of 39, 233 miles. It operates more than 15000 trains in all Indian states on daily basis. It is interesting to know that first plan for running trains in India was formulated under the Lord Hardinge in 1944. During this period Indian trains were operated by private rail companies.
These companies belonged to business investors from UK. Most Indian trains till 1853 were luggage trains and were used to carry raw materials and heavy accessories. 1853 was a spectacular year for Indian railway service. The first passenger train was started between Mumbai and Thane during this time. By the year 1880 rail tracks reached to port cities of Chennai and Calcutta.
This helped Indian businessmen to enhance their trade within India. By the end of nineteenth century Indian Railways started building rail coaches and locomotives. Before independence Indian train services were not integrated. Due to the presence of princely rule separate rail system was in existence in states of Rajasthan, Assam and Andhra Pradesh.
After 1951 Indian rails were divided into six zones. Electric engines completely replaced steam and diesel locomotives. Today India is operating super fast trains like "Rajdhani Express" and longest distance train like Himsagar Express that runs from Kashmir in the North to KanyaKumari in the south. Indian rail timetable is available at each railway station of India. Passengers can also check an Indian train status at the PNR machines at Indian railway stations.
As an Englishman born and bred and a fan of history of steam Locomotives I thought it may be of interest to write an article about the history of the earliest steam locomotive. The first full scale working railway steam locomotive was built by Richard Trevithick in the United Kingdom on 21st February 1804 when the world's first railway journey took place as Trevithick's unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Penydarren ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales.
This is different from the first Steam Engine which was first invented in 1653 by Edward Somerset (1601 – 1667) was an English nobleman. On Christmas Eve 1801 in West Cornwall, England an engineer called Richard Trevithick took his new steam car, ( or the "Puffing Devil" as it became known) out for its first test run.
After a number of years research, Trevithick had developed a high-pressure engine powered by steam. His vehicle was no more than a boiler on 4-wheels but it took Trevithick and a number of his friends half a mile up a hill. The vehicle's principle feature was a cylindrical horizontal boiler and a single horizontal cylinder let into it.
The piston propelled back and forth in the cylinder by pressure from the steam. This was linked by piston rod and connecting rod to a crankshaft bearing a large flywheel. The vehicle was used for several journeys until it turned over on the unsuitable trails that were used for pack horses in Cornwall at that time.
After having been righted, Trevithick and crew drove it back to Camborne and retired to a hostelry. The water level dropped in the boiler and the fusible plug melted, sending a jet of steam into the furnace where it blew embers all around, setting fire to the surroundings and the wooden parts of the engine.
In 1802 a steam-powered coach designed by British engineer Richard Trevithick journeyed more than 160 km from Cornwall to London. The "Puffing Dragon" was the world's first passenger car. Despite the disaster of losing his first vehicle, undeterred, Trevithick built a 3-wheeled steam carriage but this time complete with seats and a real carriage like appearance. In 1803, he drove it through London's Oxford Street on demonstration runs and reached speeds of 8-9 mph (13 - 14 km/h).
Despite the runs, nobody was interested and so when he ran out of funds, he sold the power unit to a local Miller. Trevithick's vehicle was the first self-propelled carriage in the capital and in essence the first London bus.
Regular intercity bus services by steam-powered buses were also pioneered in England in the 1830s by Walter Hancock and by associates of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney among others, running reliable services over road conditions which were too hazardous for horse-drawn transportation. Steam carriages were much less likely to overturn, did not "run away with" the customer as horses sometimes did. They travelled faster than horse-drawn carriages (24 mph over four miles and an average of 12 mph over longer distances). They could run at a half to a third of the cost of horse-drawn carriages.
Their brakes did not lock and drag like horse-drawn transport (a phenomenon that increased damage to roads). According to engineers, steam carriages caused one-third the damage to the road surface as that caused by the action of horses' feet. Indeed, the wide tires of the steam carriages (designed for better traction) caused virtually no damage to the streets, whereas the narrow wheels of the horse-drawn carriages (designed to reduce the effort required of horses) tended to cause rutting.
However, the heavy road tolls imposed by the Turnpike Acts discouraged steam road vehicles and left the way clear for the horse bus companies, and from 1861 onwards, harsh legislation virtually eliminated mechanically-propelled vehicles altogether from the roads of Great Britain for 30 years, the Locomotive Act of that year imposing restrictive speed limits on "road locomotives" of 5 mph in towns and cities, and 10 mph in the country.
In 1865 the Locomotives Act of that year (the famous Red Flag Act) further reduced the speed limits to 4 mph in the country and just 2 mph in towns and cities, additionally requiring a man bearing a red flag to precede every vehicle. At the same time, the act gave local authorities the power to specify the hours during which any such vehicle might use the roads. The sole exceptions were street trams which from 1879 onwards were authorised under licence from the Board of Trade.
Mallard is the holder of the world speed record for steam locomotives at 125.88 mph (202.58 km/h). The record was achieved on 3 July 1938 on the slight downward grade of Stoke Bank south of Grantham on the East Coast Main Line, and the highest speed was recorded at milepost 90¼, between Little Bytham and Essendine.
It broke the German (DRG Class 05) 002's 1936 record of 124.5 mph (200.4 km/h). The record attempt was carried out during the trials of a new quick acting brake (the Westinghouse "QSA" brake). Mallard was the perfect vehicle for such an endeavour. The A4 class was designed for sustained 100+ mph (160+ km/h) running and Mallard was one of a few of the class that were built with a double chimney and double Kylchap blastpipe, which made for improved draughting and better exhaust flow at speed. (The remainder of the class were retro-fitted in the late 1950s).
The A4's three-cylinder design made for stability at speed, and the large 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) driving wheels meant that the maximum revolutions per minute was within the capabilities of the technology of the day. Mallard was four months old, meaning that it was sufficiently broken-in to run freely, but not overly worn. Selected to crew the locomotive on its record attempt were driver Joseph Duddington (a man renowned within the LNER for taking calculated risks) and fireman Thomas Bray.
In the words of Rob Gwynne, Assistant Curator of Rail Vehicles at the National Railway Museum; Duddington, then aged 61, climbed into the cab, turned his cap around (as had George Formby in the contemporary film No Limit), and drove Mallard into the history books.
He had 27 years on the footplate, and had once driven the Scarborough Flyer for 144 miles at over 74mph (average speed), considered at the time to be the highest speed ever maintained by steam in the UKThe locomotive had previously had problems with the big end bearing for the middle cylinder, so the big end was fitted with a "stink bomb" of aniseed oil which would be released if the bearing overheated. Shortly after attaining the record speed, the middle big end did overheat and Mallard had to limp onwards to Peterborough.
It then travelled to Doncaster for repair. This had been foreseen by the publicity department, who had many pictures taken for the press, in case Mallard did not make it back to Kings Cross. The (Edwardian period) Ivatt Atlantic that replaced Mallard at Peterborough was only just in sight when the head of publicity started handing out the pictures. Mallard builder's plate with works' number 1870 Stoke Bank has a gradient of between 1:178 and 1:200. Mallard, pulling a dynamometer car and six coaches, topped Stoke Summit at 75 mph (121 km/h) and accelerated downhill.
The speeds at the end of each mile (1.6 km) from the summit were recorded as: 87½, 96½, 104, 107, 111½, 116 and 119 mph (141, 155, 167, 172, 179, 187 and 192 km/h); half-mile (800 m) readings after that gave 120¾, 122½, 123, 124¼ and finally 125 mph (194, 197, 198, 200 and 201 km/h).
The speed recorded by instruments in the dynamometer car reached a momentary maximum of 126 mph (203 km/h). On arrival at King's Cross (just after the run) driver Joe Duddington and Inspector Sid Jenkins were quoted as saying that they thought a speed of 130 mph would have been possible if the train had not had to slow for the junctions at Essendine.
In addition at the time of the run there was a permanent way restriction to 15 mph just north of Grantham which slowed the train as they sought to build up maximum speed before reaching the high speed downhill section just beyond Stoke tunnel.
On 3 July 2013, Mallard celebrated 75 years since achieving the world speed record, and to help commemorate this date all six surviving Class A4 locomotives were brought together around the turntable in the Great Hall of the National Railway Museum at York for a two-week 'great gathering'.
The visitors include three UK based, privately owned engines in 4464 Bittern, 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley and 60009 Union of South Africa. Mallard's two internationally based sisters, 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower and 60010 Dominion of Canada, were present after completing extensive transatlantic journeys, and undergoing cosmetic restoration at the NRM's workshops.
Mallard's world record has never been officially exceeded by a steam locomotive, though the German Class 05 was at least very close: in 1936, two years before Mallard's run, 05 002 had reached 200.4 km/h (124.5 mph) between Hamburg and Berlin. Stoke Bank is long, straight and slightly downhill, whereas the 1936 run of 05 002 took place on a horizontal stretch of track.
Unlike world records for cars and aircraft, there is no requirement for an average of two runs in both directions, and assistance from gradient or wind has always been acceptable in rail speed records. Also, unlike Mallard, 05 002 survived the attempt undamaged: on the other hand, its train was only four coaches long (197 tons), but Mallard's train was seven coaches (240 tons). In terms of rival claims, Gresley and the LNER had just one serious attempt at the record, which was far from a perfect run with a 15 mph (24 km/h) permanent way check just North of Grantham.
Despite this a record was set. Gresley planned to have another attempt in September 1939, but this was prevented by the outbreak of World War II. Before the record run on 3 July 1938, it was calculated that 130 mph (210 km/h) was possible, and in fact Driver Duddington and LNER Inspector Sid Jenkins both said they might well have achieved this figure had they not had to slow for the Essendine junctions. Mallard record plate There are reports of higher speeds from North American steam locomotives, although none were officially documented.
Locomotives which are rumoured to have exceeded the 126 mph (203 km/h) record include the Pennsylvania Railroad's S1 prototype which was unofficially clocked at 127.1 miles per hour, and the Milwaukee Road class F7. he Milwaukee Road had the fastest scheduled steam-powered passenger trains in the world. Both it and the Chicago & North Western (see CNW Class E-4) had timetables requiring running in excess of 100 mph (160 km/h); it is believed that both railroads' locomotives exceeded 120 mph (190 km/h) on a regular basis.
However, to put matters into perspective a letter from D.P Morgan (editor of the US Trains magazine) quoted in the Journal of the Stephenson Locomotive Society (Jan 1980) is worth quoting: I'm afraid that you'll not find authenticated records covering maximum speeds attained by Pennsylvania Railroad's 6100 (S1) or its related T1 duplex-drive machine.
The "records" were unofficial, the experiences related by engine crews, and with the passing of years many have either retired or died. Train timing on this side of the Atlantic is simply not of the quality or quantity you are familiar with in the UK or on the Continent.
The Flèche d’Or was introduced in 1926 as an all-first-class Pullman service between Paris and Calais. On 15 May 1929, the Southern Railway introduced the equivalent between London and Dover. The train usually consisted of 10 British Pullman cars, hauled by one of the Southern Railway’s Lord Nelson class locomotives, and took 98 minutes to travel between London and Dover. Because of the impact of air travel and 'market forces' on the underlying economy, ordinary first- and third-class carriages were added in 1931. Similarly the first-class-only ferry, Canterbury, was modified to allow other classes of passenger.
French version of the train, 1927. The train service ceased at the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939. It resumed after the war on 15 April 1946, initially running with the pre-war Pullmans and the Trianon Bar car, a converted twelve-wheeled Pullman. As of 1949, the all-Pullman train was scheduled to depart from London (Victoria station) at 10:30, with the connecting train from Calais reaching Paris (Gare du Nord) at 17:30, and from Paris at 12:15, with the connecting train from Dover arriving in London at 19:30.
This worked out to a scheduled journey time of 6 hours eastbound and 6 hours, 15 minutes, westbound after accounting for the one-hour difference between Greenwich Mean Time and Central European Time. In 1951, a new set of Pullmans was built, as part of British Railways' celebration of the Festival of Britain. In 1961, with the Kent Coast electrification scheme, the train became electric-hauled. This allowed an acceleration to 80 minutes for the down service and 82 minutes for the up service.
A decline in demand for rail travel between London and Paris saw the last Golden Arrow run on 30 September 1972, and in its later years only the first class section was advertised as a Pullman service.
It was not until 1825 that the success of the Stockton and Darlington Railway proved that the railways could be made as useful to the general shipping public as to the colliery owner. This railway broke new ground by using rails made of rolled wrought iron, produced at Bedlington Ironworks in Northumberland. Such rails were stronger. This railway linked the town of Darlington with the port of Stockton-on-Tees, and was intended to enable local collieries (which were connected to the line by short branches) to transport their coal to the docks.
As this would constitute the bulk of the traffic, the company took the important step of offering to haul the colliery wagons or chaldrons by locomotive power, something that required a scheduled or timetabled service of trains. However, the line also functioned as a toll railway, where private horse-drawn wagons could be operated upon it.
This curious hybrid of a system (which also included, at one stage, a horse-drawn passenger wagon) could not last, and within a few years, traffic was restricted to timetabled trains. (However, the tradition of private owned wagons continued on railways in Britain until the 1960s.) The success of the Stockton and Darlington encouraged the rich investors of the rapidly industrialising North West of England to embark upon a project to link the rich cotton manufacturing town of Manchester with the thriving port of Liverpool.
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the first modern railway, in that both the goods and passenger traffic was operated by scheduled or timetabled locomotive hauled trains. At the time of its construction, there was still a serious doubt that locomotives could maintain a regular service over the distance involved. A widely reported competition was held in 1829 called the Rainhill Trials, to find the most suitable steam engine to haul the trains.
A number of locomotives were entered, including Novelty, Perseverance, and Sans Pareil. The winner was Stephenson's Rocket, which had superior steaming qualities as a consequence of the installation of a multi-tubular boiler (suggested by Henry Booth, a director of the railway company). A replica of the Planet, which ran on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway from 1830 The promoters were mainly interested in goods traffic, but after the line opened on 15 September 1830, they found to their amazement that passenger traffic was just as remunerative.
The success of the Liverpool and Manchester railway influenced the development of railways elsewhere in Britain and abroad. The company hosted many visiting deputations from other railway projects, and many railwaymen received their early training and experience upon this line.
It must be remembered that the Liverpool and Manchester line was still a short one (35 miles (56 km)), linking two towns within an English shire county. The world's first trunk line can be said to be the Grand Junction Railway, opening in 1837, and linking a midpoint on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway with Birmingham, by way of Crewe, Stafford, and Wolverhampton.
As the colliery and quarry tramways and wagon ways grew longer, the possibility of using the technology for the public conveyance of goods suggested itself. On 26 July 1803, Jessop opened the Surrey Iron Railway in south London – arguably, the world's first public railway, albeit a horse-drawn one. It was not a railway in the modern sense of the word, as it functioned like a turnpike road.
There were no official services, as anyone could bring a vehicle on the railway by paying a toll. In 1812, Oliver Evans, an American engineer and inventor, published his vision of what steam railways could become, with cities and towns linked by a network of long distance railways plied by speedy locomotives, greatly reducing the time required for personal travel and for transport of goods. Evans specified that there should be separate sets of parallel tracks for trains going in different directions. However, conditions in the infant United States did not enable his vision to take hold.
This vision had its counterpart in Britain, where it proved to be far more influential. William James, a rich and influential surveyor and land agent, was inspired by the development of the steam locomotive to suggest a national network of railways. It seems likely in 1808 James attended the demonstration running of Richard Trevithick’s steam locomotive Catch me who can in London; certainly at this time he began to consider the long-term development of this means of transport.
He was responsible for proposing a number of projects that later came to fruition, and he is credited with carrying out a survey of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Unfortunately, he became bankrupt and his schemes were taken over by George Stephenson and others. However, he is credited by many historians with the title of "Father of the Railway".
The railways changed British society in numerous and complex ways. Although recent attempts to measure the economic significance of the railways have suggested that their overall contribution to the growth of GDP was more modest than an earlier generation of historians sometimes assumed, it is nonetheless clear that the railways had a sizeable impact in many spheres of economic activity.
The building of railways and locomotives, for example, called for large quantities of heavy materials, and thus provided a significant stimulus, or ‘backward linkage’, to the coal-mining, iron-production, engineering and construction industries. They also helped to reduce transaction costs, which in turn lowered the costs of goods: the distribution and sale of perishable goods such as meat, milk, fish and vegetables were transformed by the emergence of the railways,giving rise not only to cheaper produce in the shops but also to far greater variety in people's diets.
Finally, by improving personal mobility the railways were a significant force for social change. Rail transport had originally been conceived as away of moving coal and industrial goods but the railway operators quickly realised the potential for market for railway travel, leading to an extremely rapid expansion in passenger services.
The number of railway passengers trebled in just eight years between 1842 and 1850: traffic volumes roughly doubled in the 1850s and then doubled again in the 1860s. As the historian Derek Aldcroft has noted, ‘in terms of mobility and choice they added a new dimension to everyday life’.
The Royal Scot train in steam days Princess Coronation class locos changing over at Carlisle on the southbound Royal Scot in 1958. 46221 Queen Elizabeth (left) with 46240 City of Coventry with headboard ready to go south From 1874, the train was hauled by LNWR Improved Precedent Class 2-4-0 locomotives. When 4-4-0 locos became available from 1897, the train was generally hauled by one of the fastest engines available. Early on this would normally be a LNWR Precursor Class 4-4-0, then from 1913 the LNWR Claughton Class 4-6-0, in each case with a change to Caledonian Railway locomotives at Carlisle Citadel and over Beattock Summit to Glasgow.
The modern and more powerful LMS Royal Scot Class 7P 4-6-0 locos took over from 1927, with an English-based engine being replaced at Carlisle by a Glasgow (Polmadie)-based loco of the same class. The train gradually became heavier, including heavy dining cars, and from 1933, 4-6-2 pacifics of the 8P LMS Princess Royal Class took over, followed by LMS Coronation Class locos during 1937.
These engines sometimes worked the train "non-stop" throughout, but with a brief stop at Carlisle for a change of crew. Post-war, the 4-6-2 loco and crew normally changed over at Carlisle. In 1960 the down Royal Scot had its departure time from Euston changed to 09:05.
The down train was speeded up by 40 minutes and the up train by 15 minutes, for a new journey time in both directions of 7 hours 15 minutes, identical with the other two daytime named trains of the era between London and Glasgow, The Caledonian and the Mid-day Scot.
All three trains at this period were restricted to eight coaches to save weight, and the number of passengers carried was limited to the seating capacity of the train, standing passengers not being permitted. All three ran non-stop between London and Carlisle.
The Caledonian was a British express passenger train of the 1950s and 1960s running between Glasgow Central and London Euston, up in the morning, due into London in mid-afternoon, and down in the afternoon, with a Glasgow arrival in the late evening. It was operated by the London Midland Region of British Railways and was non-stop between Carlisle and London.
In the timetable for winter 1959-60, the train was slowed by 25 minutes to compensate for delays during electrification work on the West Coast Main Line, for a new journey time of 7 hours 15 minutes, identical with the other two daytime named trains of the period between the two cities, the Royal Scot and the Mid-Day Scot. All three trains were restricted to eight coaches to save weight, and the number of passengers carried was limited to the seating capacity of the train, standing passengers not being permitted.
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