Brief Presentation of the World Railway History

The railway’s origins date back to the distant past, in the mists of time. The efforts of men to transport goods and more specifically, heavy items actually date back to antiquity. The Sumerians first and then the Babylonians realized that the wheels that were rolling on smooth surfaces could carry more weight than before.

Later, the ancient Greeks evolved the concept, developing an improved system of transportation of goods in stone ditches; this was a form of “railway” of their time, further developed by the Romans subsequently.

Let’s go through some milestones that contributed to the birth of the railway and marked its history:

  • 6th century b.C.: The Railway starts from Greece, namely from Peloponnese! The ancient Corinthians constructed Diolkos, a 6 km long “railway”, which took the ships beyond the Corinth Canal. The ships that were pushed by slaves ran into ditches on a limestone route.

Diolkos operated for more than 1300 years, up to 900. It should be noted that the first wagons hauled by carriages made their appearance in Ancient Greece, in Malta, and in the Roman Empire. In Europe, they started operating approximately in 1550 on wooden rails.

  • 1520: The first rails were laid in the mines; then it was understood that a horse could pull more wagons on rails than on a dirt road.
  • 1804: Two British engineers got a patent because they managed to build a steam locomotive running on rails. One of them, Richard Trevithick, commissioned the first locomotive on the Morthair mine track, in southern Wales. A 14-ton train (5 wagons with 5 tons of minerals and 10 people) traveled 16 km, at a speed of 8 km per hour. This steam locomotive had a boiler with an internal burner, a horizontal cylinder and a feedwater preheater.
  • 1814: The Englishman George Stephenson, who is regarded as the first inventor of the steam engine, the general idea of which was followed by his successors, built his first locomotive named “Blucher,” and transported charcoal to mines in the Newcastle area.
  • 1825: The first public railroad was built in England, between Stockton and Darlington, with a length of only 39 kilometers.
  • 1829: The first railway line for passenger use between Liverpool and Manchester is inaugurated, with a length of 116 km and an average speed of 26 km/ hour. George Stephenson’s famous rocket impresses all the attendants, reaching the amazing at that time speed limit of 36 km / h. There was a competition to find out the fastest steam locomotive that could carry heavy loads over long distances; of course, it is quite obvious who won!
  • 1835: The first short rail services start in Germany, while the railways are beginning to spread rapidly all over Europe and the United States.
  • 1859: The first sleeping cars are launched.
  • 1863: The London Underground, which is the oldest in the history of urban railways, starts operating.
  • 1869: In 1869, America has a 5000-km network, crossing the entire continent.
  • 1879: Dinner cars are launched. In the same year, at the Berlin exhibition, the German Siemens presents the first electric wagon.
  • 1880: The American Thomas Edison launches his own electric wagon, running on a specially built rail.
  • 1881: The first public electric tram line is inaugurated in Berlin, Germany.
  • 4/10/1883: The legendary Orient Express starts its maiden voyage, leaving from Paris to Istanbul.
  • 1890: The London Underground becomes the world’s first electrified metro.
  • 1904: The construction of the 9,313-kilometer trans-Siberian railway, which had started in 1890, is completed; the railway links St Petersburg to Vladivostok.

Source:  Trenoargolida – Posted on 30.3.14