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History of World Rail

World Railway History

The idea of wagons being pulled along by a powered source is virtually untraceable. There are pictures of various forms of 'trains' over the centuries, dating back to BC. Even the ancient Egyptian chariot could be called a fore-runner of the modern Railway Train. As with almost everything in man's history, inventions and ideas are not new, and the very thought of pulling a wheeled carriage is basic, but how to do it successfully? That has been almost six thousand years coming.

It was around 600 BC that the Greeks used cut tracks in limestone paths to pull wagons by horse, the tracks keeping the wagon in the way it is meant to be heading. Later pictures of wooden tracks are among the various means of 'railway' as early as the 1300's. But it was in the early 1800's when steam engines and steel rails were introduced and a rail line system first started to appear across the continents of the world.

The new railways, used simply to transport goods and passengers in Europe, helped forge the new British settlements in America, Australia and South Africa. It helped open up vast areas of Russia and Siberia as well as make travel to exotic new places in Asia for the European visitor.

Signicicant Dates in World Rail History

•  c. 600BC - 100CE

Greece and Roman Empire

Wagonways used to transport goods in limestone cut tracks

•  circa 1550


Wooden tracks used to transport ore from mines

•  circa 1600


Wooden tracks used in England

•  late 1700's


Cast Iron plates for rails developed

•  late 1700's

England and America

Steam engine developed from earlier industrial steam boilers

•  26 July 1803


Worlds first 'public' railway

•  1812

Middleton, England

First successful Steam Locomotive in commercial use

•  1813


'Puffing Billy' first Steam Train to run by adhesion only (without cogs)

•  1825


George Stephenson produces the first public steam railway in the world

•  1825


Solid Rolled Wrought Iron rails produced for Darlignton - Stockton Railway

•  1850


Worlds first underground Metro railway built

•  1964

Tokyo-Osaka - Japan

First high-speed railway service (300kmh)

•  1970's


Diesel and Electic replaces Steam as locomotive of commercial choice


For more information on the history of rail please visit the following websites:-

Wikipedia - History of Rail Transport

Model by Jonathan Walton Jonboy Radio

NOTE: All links are to English versions of the websites. Most are in local languages. If links are broken (as websites often change their templates) simply go to the home page listed and search for the country of interest.


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