Trains & Railroads

from Engine to Caboose

Cumbres & Toltic Scenic Railroad

Train, in reference to a railroad or railway, means to draw or drag. Railway or railroad is defined as a bar or beam (rail) to ride. Fairly accurate, I think. 😀

  I’ve always liked trains. As a child I had a Lionel train set and always looked for the trains as we passed crossings when traveling.

  A railway is a type of transport using wheeled vehicles on rail tracks. They are called Railways, Railroads, Rail transports and other names in other languages. You might also hear them referred to as trains or train transports.

  In most countries the railroad played an important part in history. Railways changed many societies in numerous and complex ways.

The building of railways and locomotives required large quantities of materials such as iron and coal. This was a large boost for coal-mining and iron-production industries. In turn, there was an increased need for engineering and construction industries to build the railroads.

Railroads also transformed the distribution of perishable goods such as meat, milk, fish and vegetables. The reduction in transportation time and costs accomplished by the railways allowed cheaper produce in the shops and far greater variety in people’s diets.

Personal mobility was another area where the railways were a significant force for social change. Originally conceived as a way of moving coal and industrial goods, the railway operators quickly realized the potential for railway travel. This lead to an extremely rapid expansion in passenger services and ultimately helped in the settling of many countries.

Timeline of railway history:

  The rutway was a basic form of the railway. It involved groves, or ruts, carved in limestone or other rock/ground in which a wheeled cart could move. The ruts provided steering and were comparable to railroad tracks. The earliest evidence of a rutway (railway) was the 6-kilometre (3.7 mi) Diolkos wagonway, which transported boats across the Corinth Isthmus in Greece during the 6th century BC. Trucks pushed by slaves ran in grooves in limestone, which provided the track element. The Diolkos ran for over 600 years.

  Having been in proven use since the mid-15th century and possibly earlier, hand propelled tubs known as “hunds” probably existed in the provinces surrounding and forming modern-day Germany This technology was brought to the UK by German miners working in the Mines Royal at various sites in the English Lake District near Keswick (Now in Cumbria).

  Somewhere between October 1603 and the end of September 1604, Huntingdon Beaumont, partner of the landowner; Sir Percival Willoughby, built the first recorded above ground early railway/wagonway running from mines at Strelley to Wollaton in Nottinghamshire, England. It is known as the Wollaton Wagonway.

  In 1798 the Lake Lock Rail Road, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened to carry coal from the Outwood area to the Aire and Calder navigation at Lake Lock. The track used edge rails to a gauge of 3 ft 4 3⁄4 in (1,035 mm) and the wagons were pulled by horse.

  The first steam locomotive railway – Penydarren – built by Richard Trevithick in 1804, was used to haul iron from Merthyr Tydfil to Abercynon, Wales. Followed in 1807 with the first paying passenger railway service in the world – the Oystermouth Railway (later: Swansea and Mumbles Railway) – in Swansea, Wales.

  With the advent of steam locomotives came great strides in railways. In 1808 the Kilmarnock and Troon Railway was the first railway in Scotland authorised to use a steam locomotive. In 1808 Richard Trevithick sets up a “steam circus” (a circular steam railway with locomotive Catch Me Who Can) in London. Then, in 1813, the Wylam Waggonway steam loco “Puffing Billy” started commercial operation and ran for 50 years hauling coal.

  Time and technology march onward and in the 20th century, diesel makes its appearance with the first diesel-powered railcar entering service in 1913 Sweden. Followed in 1915 by the first major stretch of electrified railway, also in Sweden. And thus begins the love affair with the railroad. From 1913 thru 1997 into the 21 century the railroad has survived.

  • 2000 – Amtrak introduces the Acela Express on the Northeast Corridor in the United States.
  • 2001 August – Northeast China first electrified railway opens for business between Shenyang and Harbin.
  • 2007 – High speed trains travelling at 350 km/h (217 mph) are introduced in Spain.
  • 2007 – Heavily modified trainset of France’s TGV had beaten its original world record when it travelled from Metz- Reims at a speed of 574.8 kilometres per hour (357.2 mph).
  • 2008 – Ireland’s first Intercity DMU enters service excluding the 29000 class running on the Sligo line.
  • 2010 – Shanghai Metro overtakes London Underground as the world’s largest urban transit system (now serving: 420 km (260 mi) with 278 stations (235 not including stations served more than once)

Other places and informational links for Trains & Railroads:

The history of Railroads, or Railways varies from country to country. Each country had its own unique history of rail transport and development of their railways. By visiting museums and other attractions related to railroad history in a given country, you can learn about this uniqueness of development. There are also web sites that provide information on the history and development of railroads by country. Here are a few links that might help you.

Alberta Railway Museum
The Alberta Railway Museum, located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, preserves and interprets significant railway artifacts, including locomotives, railway cars, track maintenance equipment, and buildings. Our collection and interpretation efforts focus on the Canadian National Railways, Northern Alberta Railways, and short line and industrial railways.
Historic RailPark Train Museum – Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101
Step back in time to the golden era of railroad passenger service as a Tour Guide takes you behind the scenes of a Railway Post Office Car, Dining Car, Sleeper Car and Office Car, with special occasion options to see the interior of a diesel locomotive, a rare WWII Unit Hospital car, a Caboose and a rare 3-section Segregation rail car.
Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society
The museum is located at 48a Tongarra Road, Albion Park Rail on the Southern side of the Illawarra regional airport. The museum is a 100 km drive south of Sydney and a 20 minute drive south of Wollongong.
National Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum in York and Shildon is home to the UK’s national rail collection Includes museum visitor info, events, exhibitions and collections
National Toy Train Museum
Headquarters of the Train Collectors Association, with a world-class collection of historic and contemporary toy trains, reference library, operating toy train layouts, exhibits, and special events Located in Strasburg, Pennsylvania


Rail travel can be as simple as buying a ticket or complicated as planning an excursion. Some trains offer commuter service to take you from one place of interest to another (or to work and back). Other trains offer rides of scenic and/or historical interest. All can be fun and should be planned out ahead of time to be sure things go smoothly. Trains operate on schedules and won’t wait for you if you are late.

Rail Excursion:

What is a “rail excursion train?

An excursion train is a chartered train run for a special event or purpose. Examples of excursion trains are: a train to a major sporting event; a train run for railfans or tourism; a chartered train; a special train operated by the railway for employees and prominent customers.

Planning help:

If you plan to travel by Train/Railroad, and/or are planning a rail excursion, here are some links that might help.

Get your train and bus tickets or other Thruway services on Amtrak com to travel over 500 destinations via 30 plus train routes in the USA and Canada.
Conway Scenic Railroad
Our station, in the center of North Conway Village, has been a regional landmark since its completion in 1874. In the late 19th Century, the railroad was an integral part of the rise of tourism in the White Mountains.
Cumbres Toltec Railroad
America’s most authentic steam-operated railroad, the Cumbres & Toltec is a proud remnant of the spirit that won the West.
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
the Essex Steam Train, a nostalgic and exciting tourist destination operating live steam trains in the Connecticut River Valley since 1971 All Aboard!
Ffestiniog Welsh Highland Railways
We operate two unique narrow gauge railways with completely different personalities. Together, they offer the chance to explore the beauty of Snowdonia from over 40 miles of narrow-gauge railway.
Medina Railroad Museum Train Excursions
Located in the old New York Central freight depot in Medina, NY, the Medina RR Museum is one of the largest freight depot museums in the country.
National Rail Enquiries- UK
The gateway to Britain s National Rail network A portal into UK rail travel including train company information and promotions train times fares enquiries ticket purchase and train running information.
Oklahoma City Railway Museum
Explore Oklahoma’s rich railway history at the Oklahoma Railway Museum. See restored railroad locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses and an authentic 19th century depot. Exhibits of railroad and trolley artifacts depict the development of Oklahoma’s railway system to the 20th century.
Rail Europe
Learn how to choose between a rail pass, eurorail, eurail and a train ticket so you can save money on every trip. Get real-time fares and schedules connected to 23 European railroads.
SNCF Trains, Services
A leading global mobility of people trains, passenger services, and subscription cards, dialogue, booking of tickets, schedules and information stations
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum
A moving museum, offering an interactive, historical experience that will add an extra dimension to your visit to Chattanooga. Here you will find the only regularly scheduled, full-sized train ride in Tennessee.

Directions by City or Zip (Postcode)

  You’ll probably need maps, directions or both at some point in your travels. Just type the starting place in the first box, the ending destination in the second box and click “Go”. As an example, you could enter your home address as the starting point and the address of the place you are to stay at as the destination. USA, LLC

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.