From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Train, train, comin' 'round, 'round the bend
--"Mystery Train" (1953) by Junior Parker
"By the railway space is annihilated, and only time remains. [...] In three hours and a half one can now go to Orleans, in the same time to Rouen. What will it be when the lines to Belgium and Germany shall be finished and connected with the railways of those countries? I seem to see the mountains and forests of every country coming to Paris. I smell the perfume of German lime-trees; the billows of the North Sea are bounding and roaring before my door."--Heinrich Heine commenting upon the opening of the chemin de fer de Paris à la mer in 1843
"The terms ‘railway-spine’ and ‘railway-brain,’ which the English and American pathologists have given to certain states of these organs, show that they recognise them as due partly to the effects of railway accidents, partly to the constant vibrations undergone in railway travelling."--Degeneration (1892) by Max Nordau
The oldest known, man/animal-hauled railways date back to the 6th century BC in Corinth, Greece. Rail transport then commenced in mid 16th century in Germany in the form of horse-powered funiculars and wagonways. Modern rail transport commenced with the British development of the steam locomotive in Merthyr Tydfil when Richard Trevithick ran a steam locomotive and loaded wagons between Penydarren Ironworks and Abercynon in 1802. Thus the railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world. Built by George Stephenson and his son Robert's company Robert Stephenson and Company, the Locomotion No. 1 is the first steam locomotive to carry passengers on a public rail line, the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. George Stephenson also built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use only the steam locomotives, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway which opened in 1830. With steam engines, one could construct mainline railways, which were a key component of the Industrial Revolution. Also, railways reduced the costs of shipping, and allowed for fewer lost goods, compared with water transport, which faced occasional sinking of ships. The change from canals to railways allowed for "national markets" in which prices varied very little from city to city. The spread of the railway network and the use of railway timetables, led to the standardisation of time (railway time) in Britain based on Greenwich Mean Time. Prior to this, major towns and cities varied their local time relative to GMT. The invention and development of the railway in the United Kingdom was one of the most important technological inventions of the 19th century. The world's first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway (part of the London Underground), opened in 1863.
In the 1880s, electrified trains were introduced, leading to electrification of tramways and rapid transit systems. Starting during the 1940s, the non-electrified railways in most countries had their steam locomotives replaced by diesel-electric locomotives, with the process being almost complete by the 2000s. During the 1960s, electrified high-speed railway systems were introduced in Japan and later in some other countries. Many countries are in the process of replacing diesel locomotives with electric locomotives, mainly due to environmental concerns, a notable example being Switzerland, which has completely electrified its network. Other forms of guided ground transport outside the traditional railway definitions, such as monorail or maglev, have been tried but have seen limited use.
Following a decline after World War II due to competition from cars and aeroplanes, rail transport has had a revival in recent decades due to road congestion and rising fuel prices, as well as governments investing in rail as a means of reducing CO2 emissions in the context of concerns about global warming.
Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway by William Turner
- Different Trains
- Railway music
- L'Arrivée d'un train en gare de La Ciotat
- Trans Europ Express
- Trans-Siberian Railway
- Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare
- Fear of trains
- Train whistle
- Abandoned railway