Railway Trains Cary Passengers, Mail & Freight
Technology has been a central part of our history as a product of innovation, a carrier of change, and a tool we use in our daily lives which helps us shape our future. Evolving train technology have enabled train crews, station crews, telegraph operators, yard masters, maintenance crews, watch inspectors, signal men, crew dispatchers, train dispatchers and management to work together to increase the safely, speed and efficiently of rail transportation since trains began rolling in North America.
The development of Steam Locomotives during the first half of nineteenth century gave birth to what future historians will surely look back to as beginning of the transportation age, closely intertwined with the industrial age which it created it, as one of the great ages in the history of mankind. The steam locomotive made it affordable for average people to travel between towns to do business, it made it possible to deliver mail faster, it made it practical for vendors to sell there crops or wares outside their own town and to purchase food, goods and raw materials from other towns. The locomotive builders built faster and more powerful steam locomotives able to move larger trains to their destinations faster. Read more about steam locomotives.
Diesel Locomotives were introduced on American Railways in the middle of the 1930's proving more energy efficiency and consuming less fuel than than a steam engine. This new locomotive used a Diesel generator to create electricity which powered axle-mounted electric motors. Read more about diesel locomotives.
Passenger Trains on the early railroads made travel faster, less difficult, more comfortable and more economical than the wagons and stage lines they replaced. An early passenger train would typically consist of a baggage car and one or more arched roof coaches. Sleeping cars were added to long distance trains in the east during the 1850's. During the mid-1860's a clerestory roof was introduced providing better ventilation and more daylight inside the cars. Lounge cars, dining cars and other specialty cars added to the comfort aboard the first-class trains. As the number of railroad lines grew the railroad companies used evolving technology to build faster more luxurious hotels on wheels to compete for business. Read more about passenger trains.
Pullman Sleeping Cars were first introduced by George Pullman in 1859. George Pullman created and refined the sleeping car that through continuing attention to comfort and technological innovation dominated railroad travel for decades. Read more about Pullman sleeping cars.
Railway Post Office Cars and Express Cars have been in use to distribute mail and express parcels between cities since as early as 1836. Eventually the postal agents began opening the bags they picked up along the route and distributing the mail to the bags that were being dropped off further down the line. Read more about Railway Post Office cars.
Freight Trains replaced freight wagons hauling ore, food, goods and machinery, shortening delivery time and reducing shipping costs. As western mining, ranching and agricultural towns were connected with eastern consumers and manufactures, advancements in technology continued to improve the way materials and goods were transported. Specialized freight cars were developed to accommodate all types of freight. Read more about freight trains.
Track, which began with two parallel steel rails fastened to wooden ties, providing a roadbed and guide for the early trains, also continued to evolve as trains became faster, longer, and heavier. Read more about track.
Stations build along the line served the railroad as a telegraph and train order office, many had a siding for trains to pass and a water tower to refill a steam locomotive tender with water. Most passenger stations included a ticket counter, baggage office, express office and post office. Railroad stations also served the developing western communities as a center for news, transportation and commerce. A railroad station often reflected the stature of the community it served. Read more about stations.
Photo Utah State Historical Society.
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