The first railroads in the United States were horse-power railroads. One of the early ones, the Quinsy tramway, was built in 1826 and was used for carrying stone. That road, which was three miles in length, had wagons pulled by horses.
The year after the Quinsy tramway, another short railroad was constructed in Pennsylvania to carry coal to the canal over which it was transported to Philadelphia.
In the USA, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first to plan a 611.8 km railway to connect with the Ohio River at Wheeling. Work was begun on July 4, 1829 and by the following year horses were hauling rail cars over the first 20.9 km of track.
Then, the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company sent Horatio Allen to watch the Rainhill trials and he ordered four locomotives, one from Robert Stephenson and three from Foster and Rastrick of Stourbridge. On August 9, 1830, the first trip with the steam locomotive, called Lion, was made and a year later the Tom Thumb, built in Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was tested on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O)’track.
On August 28 the Tom Thumb pulled a coach carrying 36 passengers at speeds of up to 29 km/h. On June 1, 1831 the railroad offered prizes for the best locomotives. The only one to meet its conditions was the York, built by Phineas Davis, and as a result, the B&O ordered 20 of his “grasshopper” engines. The first was named Atlantic, and they served the railroad for over 50 years. Thus, the date 1831 is regarded as the date when the first railways of the United States went into operation. The development of railways in the USA followed a radically different course from that in Britain. They continued to spread, and by 1850 there were some 14,490 km of railway in operation, but the Civil War brought a temporary pause in new construction.
The completion of the first transcontinental line on May 10, 1869 marked the start of the American rail network expansion. New transcontinental lines were built as the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads crossed the southern territories, and the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Burlington and Milwaukee railroads spanned the northwest. Connecting lines were built in all directions and by the end of the century there was a network of 10,730 km of railroads.
In Europe, the growing demand for faster services called for more powerful locomotives. So, the steam locomotives grew in size and power throughout the world.
In 1895 electric traction, which previously had proved successful on street railways, was introduced on short sections of the U.S. railroads. This innovation was adopted first by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and later in the same year by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. At first, electric power was used principally in urban areas and especially, in tunnels to eliminate smoke and steam. The electrification of the tracks passing under Park Avenue to enter Grand Central Terminal in New York City was in response to a serious accident that had occurred when the tunnel became filled with smoke. The electrification project, completed in 1907, was undertaken in compliance with a state law requiring railroads to discontinue the use of combustion engines within New York City.
Later, the value of electric traction in mountainous region was discovered as electricity provides greater power on grades than can be achieved with steam. Electricity provides greater safety as well as economy because the power produced on downgrades is fed into the supply line. The electrification of densely populated areas was the need for increased carrying capacity. As electric locomotives can accelerate more rapidly, faster schedules could be established and more trains could be run on the same track.
While electric railroads are popular throughout the world, they are less so in the United States. In 1950s the Great Northern Railroads (now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe) removed its electric wires that crossed the Cascade Mountains. Several other major railroads followed suit in the mid-1970s. Electric train was operated only on short private railroads, on intercity and suburban passenger lines, and subways.
It was the diesel locomotive which made the most dramatic progress in the postwar decades. By 1957 only one of the US railroads made great use of steam traction.
Most American railroads, such as the “Santa Fe” and “The Union
Pacific», began to dieselize their railroads very rapidly.
Railways in Germany
The earliest railway in Germany was the line from Nűrnberg to Fűrth, 8 km (5 miles), 1,435 mm gauge, opened on December 7, 1835. Germany then consisted of many states. After German unification in 1871 the railways in each state were nationalized. Under Weimar Constitution in 1919 the separate state railways were combined under the central government. The Railway Act of 1924 established the Deutsche Reichsbahn (German State Railway) on October 11, 1924.
Following the division of Germany into East and West the railways were split up; those in the eastern portion continued as Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) and in the west as Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) of German Federal Railway. In 1991 the DR consisted of 14,081 km (8,750 miles).
The German ICE high-speed train has proved an undoubted commercial and technical success. However, a handicap restricting its use as the basis for a design for future cross-border services in Europe has been the 20t axle load of its Class “401” (ICE1) and “402” (ICE2) power cars. This compares with 17t for France’s TGV family. It was one of several factors that led to adoption of multiple-unit concept with traction power distributed throughout the train. Each new generation ICE3 high-speed train consists of eight aluminium-bodied cars, which are not articulated.
Train formation comprises three first and four second class cars, plus a restaurant (bistro) car. Seating is provided for 391 passengers, including 24 in the restaurant car. ICE3 represents an increase in capacity of about 10 per cent compared with an ICE1 of the same length. Like the earlier trains, ICE3 can also work in multiple as two coupled sets when passengers demand is at its highest.
ICEs are known for their high-quality passenger accommodation. Its quiet, comfortable and spacious interior also includes passenger information displays and a family compartment. However, the best part of the ICE3 is the passenger saloon behind the cab where a glass screen provides a driver’s eye view of the track ahead. Construction of the ICE3 was well under way in 1999 for DB domestic traffic and service in Austria and Switzerland, where the same power supply system is used.
As a passenger version, ICE has been very successful. The ICE is not the only addition to this family of trains. Now in service on DB’s “classic” lines is a 143 mph (230 km/h) tilting version (ICT) and a 125 mph (200 km/h) tilting diesel one, Class “605”.
The first new coaches designed at 200 km/h have entered service on German Federal Railway. Car bodies are of light–weight steel construction. Air-conditioning is standard on all cars. The windows are very wide, eight of them having special openings for emergency ventilation, and these windows can also be used as emergency exits.
The accelerated development of railroads is a requirement of our time.
A bird’s eye view of Russia offers a spectacular panorama – long lines radiating from Moscow in all directions. In some places they intertwine, then diverge and continue. These lines are the railroads linking together all economic areas, thousands of towns and villages, enterprises and large construction sites. Many of the trunk lines cut across the state border. Russia has railway connections with many countries and our trains run on a lot of international lines.
Railroads, which can be compared with the blood circulation system, hold the leading place in the overall transport network. Indeed, compared with other means of transport they have a number of essential advantages – lower power consumption, comparative independence of climatic conditions and the ability to deliver freight directly to mines, large factories and construction sites.
Our railroads stretch for 10,000 km from West to East and for 5,000 km from South to North. New sections and new routes continue to appear. The Russian railway system is really very great. More freight is transported by Russian railways than by the railways of all other countries put together.
The beginning of railway construction in Russia may be traced as far back as the second half of the 18th century. The first railroads were not much like the railroads we know today. By the way, the word “railroad” was originally written as two words “rail road” to distinguish it from other kinds of roads. Railway construction is considered to be closely connected with the development of mining industry. The first tramway in Russia was built in 1788 to link the mines and the steel works. It was R.K. Frolov, a Russian engineer, who constructed the lengthy horse-driven railway in 1806-1809, its length being 1,867 m.
The first railway in Russia using steam traction was put into service at the Nizhny Tagil metallurgical works in 1833-1834, for which the first steam locomotives in the country were constructed by the Cherepanovs, father and son.
Railway construction for public use was started in 1835. This railway had to connect St. Petersburg with Tsarskoye Selo. It was on November 13, 1836 that the first train passed over the 27 km line. The Tsarskoye Selo Railway was constructed on the initiative of the engineer F. Gerstner, with funds provided by a joint-stock company, whose establishers, apart from Gerstner, were A. Bobrinsky, B. Kramer and I. Plitt. Six locomotives and three types of passenger carriages were purchased abroad. On May 22, 1838 a regular service to Pavlovsk was introduced. The famous “voksal” (railway station) was built there to the plans of the architect A. Stakenschneider. The Tsarskoye Selo Ry was soon followed by the construction of the St. Petersburg – Moscow railway that was eight years under construction, from 1843 to 1851. The St. Petersburg – Moscow railway was the first to introduce the standard gauge. The work was directed by two prominent engineers, P.P. Melninikov and H.O. Kraft.
Apart from the Moscow – St. Petersburg railway, only a few railways were built in Russia up to the middle of the 1860s. In the 1880s Russian factories were already meeting all requirements for locomotives and rolling stock. Although the Russian railway system was the largest in Europe, it was inadequate in relation to the territory and to the requirements of the national economy and the lines were unevenly distributed over the country.
In 1899, construction work began on new tracks, depots and station buildings. The new several lines were built between 1868 and 1917. The railway was technically well equipped, the rolling stock having been produced in Russian factories.
The concept of mass transportation grew with the railways. People used railways to go to work, to travel for pleasure and to service new industries. Towns were developed as centres of railway industry, suburbs grew and newly rail–connected seaside resorts flourished. Fresh food and vegetables carried by train became widely available. Mail and newspapers were sent rapidly from one part of the country to another. Large quantities of raw materials and finished goods could be transported to factories and shops.
The railway was the greatest and the most influential technical development of the 19th century. With its combination of power and speed the railway enabled large quantities of goods and people to be transported from one place to another in a short time.
In 1904 construction of Vitebsk Station in St. Petersburg was completed by architects S. Brzozowsky and S. Minash. The station was built in a modern style and had a number of distinguishing features: the building’s curved façade on the Vvedensky Canal side formed a small square. The platforms were located at the first floor level and special lifts and tunnels were planned for freight use.
Included in the Vitebsk Station complex was the Imperial Pavilion, from which a separate track went to Tsarskoye Selo. This Pavilion was intended for the exclusive use of Imperial trains. The platforms and tracks were covered with a special roof and the Vvedensky Canal embankment, which adjoined the pavilion, was fenced off by an iron railing.
Because of the limited space available, it was necessary to build the front platform underground, which made lighting of the interiors difficult: the builders had to use overhead lights for the front platform, the so-called “hall of light”.
The interior decoration of the station buildings was strictly in keeping with their functions: for the Grand Duke’s family, for the 1st and the 2nd class passengers, for the 3rd class passengers, for offices that were open to public view and those that were not.
In 1953 Vitebsk Station became part of the Oktyabrskaya Railway when it was connected with the Leningrad Railway.
Vitebsk Station has remained almost unchanged up till now and is one of the finest stations in terms of its decoration and interiors.
The railways began their life as an industrial transport system. As steam became outmoded electricity and internal combustion were applied. Railways experimented with and used the most modern of contemporary materials. Railways evolved efficient systems of operational and financial control. They are the most important form of transport and they will maintain dominant position for a very long time in future.
The specific territorial, geographic and climatic conditions of Russia, and big volumes of freight and passenger traffic over long distances make high requirements to the development and operation of the transport system which embraces rail, river, sea, motor, pipeline and air transport. Railway transport has always been the main method of transportation in Russia and is distinguished by a high carrying capacity, relatively low transportation costs, high speed, all-weather reliability and regularity of deliveries. Our railways are fitted out with automatic blocking and centralized dispatching systems with computer centres. Major work has been performed on developing automatic systems for managing railway transport. The introduction of automatic systems to control technical processes in marshalling yards is the important part of the program.
The scientific and technological links that Russian railways maintain with other countries are to be further developed. Our main emphasis in developing railway transport is on its technical re-equipment, cutting maintenance costs, improving the conditions and raising safety standards. Railways are introducing new locomotives and cars to replace the old ones. They are also adding modern passenger coaches with improved interior finishing, better air conditioning systems, etc.
Railways of Russia are the key transportation mode of the country, carrying more than 80 per cent of the total freight traffic and more than 40 per cent of the passenger freight traffic.
The necessity to promote the reforms in the railway transport of Russia is an objective need motivated by the basic interests of the national economy.
Since 1991 the works for the creation of the first Russian high-speed link and special-purpose rolling stock have been conducted in Russia.
In 1993 a design specification for the high-speed electric train named “Sokol” was developed. More than 60 companies and enterprises of railway transport took part in the creation of the project of the prototype train set.
In 1993-1997 the conceptual engineering design of the “Sokol” train and design documentation were worked out. In 1997-1998 the production of the prototype train, testing of its different units and assemblies were conducted. Soon the prototype 6-car train “Sokol” was in service.
In 1988 the Government approved the State scientific-engineering program, according to which it was planned to create in the country rail transport systems and rolling stock for operation with speeds of up to 300 km/h.
Russia ranks second in the world (after the USA) in the railway track length; third (after the USA and China) in the volume of freight traffic; third in passenger traffic (after China and Japan).
The Great Siberian Track
“The Great Siberian Track” is a well-known name in the history of the Russian State. The Trans-Siberian Railway Line is the longest line on our planet. It connects the European part of Russia with the Pacific coast. Its length is 7,525 km. The section between Khabarovsk and Vladivostok, which runs mostly along the Amur River, was completed in 1915. The railway journey from Moscow to Vladivostok takes from nine to ten days at the best. Departing from Moscow the train passes through ancient Yaroslavl, then Sverdlovsk, the Ural’s capital, which is one of the leading industrial centres in Russia. Then comes Tyumen, the administrative and economic center of the new gigantic oil and gas fields, and later Omsk, an important junction where the Trans-Siberian Railway crosses the great Irtysh River. Beyond Omsk the woods give way to steppes dotted with fresh and salt-water lakes. The steppes stretch for more than 600 km. The train runs through the taiga, leaving aside Tomsk, the oldest Siberia’s city, which is connected with the Trans-Siberian Railway by an 88 km branch line.
A vast railway construction was started in the European part of the country at the end of the 19th century, in 1891. Principal tracks were laid down from the Western borders to St. Petersburg and Moscow, from the centre to the Volga region and the Urals, to the Caucasus and the Crimea.
By 1892 railway track in Russia had a total length of 32,000 km.
On March 15, 1891 Alexander III issued an imperial prescript addressed to future Emperor Nicholas II which stated: “I command to start construction of a railway across all Siberia in order to connect natural treasures of the Siberian region with a system of inland railways. I also entrust you with the construction of the “Great Siberian Track in Vladivostok”.
In May 1893 it was decided to build the track in three stages. The whole main line should have been laid within 10 years. It meant a lot of construction work and laying 8,144 of rails. Working and living conditions were extremely hard. The track went through swamps and thick taiga crossing major rivers and huge mountains.
On September 1, 1897 the first train came to Khabarovsk from Vladivostok. Two months later this railway of 761 km long came into being as fully operational. In 1899 the construction of Mid-Siberian railway was finished.
Diggers, carpenters, metalworkers, masons and their families were moved from European part of Russia to Siberia. Russian people were building the railway using home-produced materials. The Minister of Railways of that time Vitte wrote: “The Great Siberian railway breathed life into boundless Siberian lands.” His views were shared by the State Secretary Stolypin pointing out: “Settlers in Siberia mean everything. They are bringing life there and by cultivating virgin lands they add millions of virgin acres to agricultural output.”
Building of the gigantic main line of more than 8,000 km long was a heroic deed accomplished by Russian construction workers due to their tenacious efforts and courage. Some of Trans-Siberian stations bear their names – Vyazemskaya, Baranovsky, etc. By establishing constant connection with the European railway system the Siberian line opened new ways and new boundaries both for Russian people and trade.
The train passes through the picturesque mountains and wooded localities around the world’s largest fresh-water lake Baikal. Further on, the railway turns to the South and reaches Vladivostok, an industrial and research centre in the Far East. Passengers travelling from Moscow to Vladivostok alter the hands of their watches seven times because the railway crosses seven time zones. This line is exceptionally important. The line carries tremendous quantities of coal, ore, metal, oil, timber and grain. It carries transit cargo and, in particular, maintains a container service between the countries of Europe and Japan as well as running international passenger services.
The Trans-Siberian Railway is the backbone of the Russian transport network and the main channel of wide communications between the Far East and Siberia and all the other regions and districts of Russia.
Before the first World War there were two Trans-Siberian services: one in which the cars were provided by the International Sleeping Car Company and one conducted by the Russian Government. The rolling stock of both trains was superb. In those days there was a church on the train. It was a carriage fitted as a Russian Orthodox chapel.
In 1984, the whole length of the Baikal-Amur main line went into operation. This main line, which incorporates many latest scientific and technological achievements and innovations, is equipped with sophisticated traffic control automation systems: automatic block signal systems and dispatcher controlled switches and signals.
Today, this main line is of major importance for the accelerated development of the industrial potential of East Siberia and Russian Far East.
After the reconstruction of Vostochny Sea port the main line could provide containers transportation between Japan and Europe.
Many international organizations have included the Trans–Siberian railway in their projects as a principal transportation line between Europe and Asia. The Trans–Siberian track is also one of the most important passenger lines.
Russia is taking an active part in the process of effective ties between leading centres of world economic growth. One of the main tasks of the Russian railway transport lies in support of export/import and transit trade as well as speeding up our integration into the world transport market.
Setting up the North-South international transport corridor was necessary to cope with the development of foreign trade traffic between Iran, South and South-East Asia and Arabian Peninsula countries on one side and European countries on the other. This corridor is expected to provide more effective transport and economic communications than the corresponding sea routes. The Russian part of the Moscow–Kochetovka–Rtischevo–Saratov–Volgograd–Aksaraiskaya–Samur railway corridor consists mostly of double-track sections. Most of the railway links within it are electrified. Maximum train speed on the Buslovskaya – Moscow and Krasnoye – Moscow routes is 90 km/h for freight and 120-160 km/h for passenger services. Nowadays, Russian and foreign experts study different aspects of modernization and new construction of railway sections within the North-South corridor.