From the Blog

Travelling Train


Travelling by train has historically been one of the safest, quickest and cheapest forms of travel. The development of the train industry kick started the industrial revolution, and the success of a particular town would rely on whether it had a train station in its vicinity. The front of the train is the engine and that is the power base of the train. Behind it carriages are connected with either cargo or human passengers. The length of the train can vary from just one or two carriages, to numerous carriages producing a very long train. The train was invented a long time before the car and came as a result the invention of the steam engine. The coal fired steam engine would be fed coal during its journey and it would create enough power to be able to pull a number of carriages.

George Stephenson’s first train “the rocket”

Trains run on tracks and it wasn’t long before track lines started to emerge in a number of locations, especially in the United Kingdom where the first steam engine was invented by George Stephenson in 1814. He also created the first steam railway line and this was opened in 1825 between Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington. It became a real efficient way of transporting both goods and passengers but the early problems included certain lines being opened up with different gauges. This was the space between the tracks and meant that some carriages could not operate on certain lines. In 1846 the Royal Commission on Railway Gauges banned broad gauges and from that point there was uniformity in the tracks, with them being set at standard gauge.

Many of the engines being produced in the United Kingdom were transported around the world. There are no better examples than in the United States where the construction of the train lines opened up the western side of the country to settlers. The early trains were made in Britain until the “Tom Thumb” locomotive went into operation, which was made by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. In India the first Indian engines were being under the direction of British engineers. Being a British Colony many of the railway companies had British shareholders and British engineers. It was an enormous task building the rail tracks across the vast continent as so many harsh geographical features had to be overcome.

A packed train in India

By 1929 there were 66,000 km of track laid down in the country as the British looked to move troops and also exploit natural mineral resources. This was made even more remarkable given the cost of the operation. In the United States it cost 2000 pounds for each mile of track laid down while in India the same project would cost 18,000 pounds. Today steam engines have been replaced by diesel engines but the railways are still as important as they have always have been. The United States has the biggest railway in the world with over 250,000 km of track. Freight is carried along 80% of the track as the country is so large it is the most economical form of transport when moving heavy goods.

Indian employs 1.3 million people in its rail industry and is the world’s 8th largest employer. It carries 22 million passengers every day and is not unusual to have 7,000 passengers on one train. However, the busiest train station in the world is found in Japan. The Shinjuku train station in Tokyo in 2007 averaged 3.7million passengers per day and the station is so large that there are 200 entrances into it. The Japanese rail industry is vast and whereas the United States tends to concentrate on freight movement the opposite is true in Japan with only 0.84% of all movements being freight.

The country now leads the way in high speed passenger routes and the railway is seen as the most important means of passenger movement in the country. As well as the trains being the most punctual in the world they have some of the fastest vehicles that are able to tilt as they move. The N700 series Shinkansen can’t travel up to 300km per hour.
Train as a mode of transport is as popular as it has ever been.