The history of the train will show that Richard Trevithick made the first steam tramway locomotive in 1804. In 1814, George Stephenson created the Blucher, the first steam locomotive meant for railway use.
Early History of Railways
Records show that as far back as 1550, the Germans had already built rails. However these were called wagonways and constructed of wood. By 1776, the wood rails had been replaced by iron. Instead of horses, wheels were now used to push the charts. Eventually these wagonways became tramways.
It wasn’t long before it spread throughout Europe. In 1789 William Jessop of the UK created a wagon with flanged wheels. This was crucial in the history of the train; the design allowed the wheels to move securely along the rails.
The Invention of the Steam Engine
As stated, it was Trevithick who built the tramway steam locomotive. It was first run on February 22, 1804. The machine was able to carry a 10 ton load. The load consisted of 70 people, some wagons and iron pieces. It traveled 9 miles, which took two hours. This took place in South Wales.
Stephenson’s invention came soon after. He had a great role in adoption and further development of the steam locomotive.
In 1825, Stockton & Darlington Railroad Company began carrying people and merchandise. They were also the first to have train rides on a regular schedule. Their locomotives were based on the work of Stephenson. It was able to carry about 450 people at 9 mph.
Railways in the United States
Colonel John Stevens is considered to be the founder of American railways and railroads. In 1826 he showed it was possible for locomotives to move around circular rails. In 1815 he was given a railroad charter, the first in the history of the train in the US.
Others would follow suit. The Tom Thumb (1830) was one of the first to run on common carrier roads. The Pullman Sleeping Car came out in 1857, made for overnight travel.
More Advanced Train and Railway Systems
The development of the train and railways has been continuous. In the 1960s and 70s, numerous technological advancements were made. In 1964 the Japanese were able to produce high speed rails that could reach speeds of over 100 mph. The invention of these Japanese bullet trains was soon followed in other countries.
The US and most other European countries now have high speed rail systems. By the 1980s, diesel and electric trains had displaced the steam locomotives. Unlike steam power, electric trains were cheaper and easier to maintain. As technology improved, they also became easier to learn and use.
A lot of advances have been made since the early history of the train, but more will come. With high oil prices, it’s widely expected that rail systems will be a dominant form of public transport in the years to come.