Rail Transport: a timeline
Trains move on rails.
The parts of the train are linked together.
Parts of the train are pulled along.
Now trains go very fast.
Long ago animals pulled trains.
The first trains were pulled or pushed by people or animals, and
were used in mines to transport coal.
In the early 1800s, steam engines was used in locomotives to pull trains more quickly along smoother, stronger tracks. Trains began to carry passengers.
Steam is made when coal is burned in the fire box in the locomotive, and heats water in the boiler until it turns into steam. The steam is stored in the steam head and then passed through hot pipes to the slide valve. The steam power moves a rod called a piston backwards and forwards. The piston is connected to the driving rod, which turns the wheels.
The Rocket is one of the most famous locomotives in the world. It was a steam locomotive built in 1829 and designed by Robert Stephenson. It won a competition to test locomotives for a new passenger train line in England. It travelled at nearly 50 kilometres per hour.
By the late 1800s, steam powered passenger trains carried people living in the country to cities for work and for pleasure. City people travelled by train to the countryside or the seaside. On some trains there were carriages with bedrooms, called sleeping cars, and restaurants and bathrooms had been added.
The diesel engine was invented by a German engineer, Rudolf Diesel in 1892. The diesel fuel is burned to drive a generator which makes electricity. The electricity is stored in batteries below the locomotive, and the electricity from the batteries runs an electric motor which drives the wheels.
Diesel trains were introduced in the 1930s.These trains were faster, quieter and cleaner than steam trains, and meant passengers had a more comfortable ride and can carry much heavier loads than steam engines. Diesel powered engines are still used today worldwide. Sometimes several diesel locomotives are linked together to haul cargo trains more than a kilometre long.
Electricity was first used to power trains in 1879.
Power came from overhead cables, or from electricity running through a rail on the track.
High Speed Trains
Japan's Shinkansen high-speed trains are often called 'bullet trains', and were the first high speed trains. Services started in 1964 with the trains travelling at speeds of 210 kilometres per hour.They now travel at up to 300 kp/h.
A French high-speed electric train, the TGV (which stands for train grande vitesse, French for 'high-speed train') was developed in the 1970s. It has an electric locomotive at either end and can travel at an average speed of 320 kilometres per hour. On 3 April 2007 it set the record for the fastest wheeled train, reaching a speed of 574.8 km/h. It also holds the world's highest average speed for a regular passenger service.
works by magnetic levitation,
no wheels. It is pulled along above the metal rails by magnets fitted to both the train and the track. Maglev trains are the fastest passenger-carrying vehicles and have travelled at 400 kilometres per hour.
The first commercial high-speed maglev train line is the Shanghai (in China) Transrapid Line, which began running in 2004. The 30 km journey is completed in 7 minutes and 20 seconds.
Read more about
maglev trains here:
Monorails are only used for short distances. They are electric-powered. Some have wheels made of steel, and run on a steel track. Others straddle a central track and are balanced and guided by side panels and rubber guide wheels. The first electric monorail was built in Germany in 1901 and is still running. It hangs from an overhead track.
Read about monorails around the world here http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Where.html
Light rail vehicles have replaced trains in some places. They came into use in the early 1970s. Light rail vehicles look like two trams joined together. These electric-powered vehicles run on railway lines and stop at stations as well as running along tram lines picking up passengers in the streets. Light rail vehicles are air conditioned and can carry more than 150 people. They have a top speed of 80 kilometres per hour.
Rail transport in Australia
When rail first started in Australia, private companies in the colonies of NSW, Victoria and SA built their own, and in fact each colony, later on each state, had different gauge (the distance between one track and the other) tracks, so that at first the trains weren't able to travel from one state to the next. Passengers had to get off the train they started in, walk across the border and get on another train.
|The very first Australian railway was built in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) in 1836. It was around 13 kilometres of wooden track running between Hobart and Port Arthur. Teams of convicts pushed a carriage along the track, and when it got to the top of a hill, the convicts leapt aboard for a fast ride to the bottom. There was a brake in case the carriage was going too fast!|
|In 1854 the first Australian public steam-train service ran in Victoria, between Flinders Street Station and Sandridge (now Port Melbourne) The line was 4 kilometres long.
In 1855 the first railway in New South Wales opened, running between Sydney and Parramatta.
Read more about the history of rail transport in Australia here:
If you use any part of this in your own work, acknowledge this source in your bibliography like this:
Thomas, R. & Sydenham, S. Rail Transport [Online] www.kidcyber.com.au (2009)
|Look at Road transport||Look at Airships and Balloons|
|Look at Ships: a timeline||Look at Air transport|
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Updated May 2013 copyright kidcyber