Different Types of Trains
There are two broad categories of trains that have been invented so far-passenger and freight. Freight trains carry goods while passenger trains carry people.
1. Freight Trains
Freight trains consist of freight carriages that deliver cargo from one place to another. Some are boxcars, while others are special cargoes. Open hopper cars carry coal, covered hopper cars carry grains, tank cars carry liquids, car carriers carry automobiles, and special flatcars carry trailers or freight containers. Facts about freight trains as a more cost-effective and energy-efficient mode of transportation can help kids understand how they carry a lot of weight over long distances faster than any road transportation system.
2. Passenger Trains
Passenger trains have cars with seats to carry people over short, long–distances or within cities. They may have a self-powered unit or a group of locomotives. These trains run at a speed of about 100 miles per hour. Passenger trains have electrical outlets and Wi-Fi hotspots, dining cars, baggage cars, and even sleeping cars with beds. Passengers can board or depart from these trains at several depots or stations. They usually run on a set timetable.
Fascinating History of Trains
The word train originates from the Old French trahiner, derived from the Latin ‘there,’ which means ‘to pull, draw.’ Long before railways, “train” referred to a group of vehicles or pack animals traveling in a line, like a wagon train or camel train. In olden times, trains used horsepower and ran on wooden or iron tracks. With the development of the plateway in the late Middle Ages, a new means was invented to make steam-powered land transport possible. Englishmen Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian received a patent for the invention of the world’s first steam locomotive in 1802. In the 1820s British inventor, George Stephenson designed and built the first steam train that carried goods and passengers. Hence, rail lines started being constructed throughout Europe. The first railroads connected cities on the East Coast of the United States. Facts about steam trains that were used to propel boats, wagons, and carriages on tracks built across the United States by 1860 can aid in understanding more about the evolution of trains to more modern Diesel engines as the primary power source of locomotives in the mid-1900s. Facts about Modern Trains have drawn attention to the technological emphasis on faster operations, better amenities, more specialized and larger freight cars, more sophisticated signaling and traffic-control systems for upholding safety, and innovative types of motive power. Undoubtedly, trains today have changed the way people live and operate worldwide.
Other Fun Facts and Information About Trains for Children
Here are some fun facts and information about trains for children to pique their interest and make them more knowledgeable.
- Richard Trevithick built the first-ever steam train in 1804.
- George Stephenson’s most famous steam engine was called the Rocket, which was both fast and reliable.
- Der Adler was the first steam locomotive that ran in Germany.
- Freight trains carry cattle, food, coal, lumber, and other goods all across the country.
- The Fairy Queen is India’s oldest working steam locomotive built in Britain in 1855.
- Steam locomotives have three types of wheel. The largest wheels, or ‘driving wheels,’ are turned by pistons and move the locomotive. The small wheels or ‘leading wheels’ help guide the engine forward. Small wheels at the back are called trailing wheels that support the weight of the firebox and driver’s cab.
- A freight train is used to transport cargo to and from different locations.
- A freight train has one or more locomotives and many freight cars.
- Diesel-powered engines were introduced in Britain in the 1960s. The early designs of British diesel were called Deltics.
- Modern TGV trains started in France linked Paris and Lyon by a line. The average speed of electric trains has reached 186 mph from 168 mph.
- High-speed electric trains began to be used in the 1950s for long-distance passenger voyages.
- The earliest high-speed electric trains were designed in Europe that could reach speeds of 80 mph.
- In 1964, a purpose-built high-speed electric train line opened in Japan between Osaka and Tokyo.
- A locomotive engine can be powered by steam, diesel, or electricity.
- Before the locomotive engines, trains were powered by humans, horses, or gravity.
- The first commercially successful steam-powered locomotive was the Salamanca, built by Matthew Murray in 1812.
- The first electric locomotive was invented and built by Scottish inventor Robert Davidson in 1837.
- The first diesel-powered locomotive operated on the Winterthur-Romanshorn railway in 1912.
- First came the steam-powered trains, followed by the diesel and electric trains.
- Modern trains use diesel or electricity, but steam engine trains are only used for recreational purposes.
- Trains are one of the most eco-friendly ways to travel.
- The heaviest train was a freight train from Australia that weighed 95,000 tonnes and ran 7.3 kilometers long.
- The four-time zones were used in the US only after trains made fast travel possible across the continent.
- From over 254 thousand in 1916, the US currently has less than 170,000 miles of railways.
- Maglev trains can run at a speed of over 550 km/h but are expected to come close to 800 km/h by 2020.
- The longest route for one train runs between Moscow and Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian Express railway line.
- Grand Central Station in New York has 44 passenger platforms and 67 tracks.
- The first-ever underground railway was made in London.
- By 1900, underground railways were built in Boston, Paris, and Budapest. The Moscow Metro was built in 1930.
- Some of the highest railways in the world are in the Andes mountain range in South America.
There can be more than one reason for parents to invest in a train set for their child. Playing with this toy is hugely beneficial for developing fine motor skills at a young age that helps in writing, drawing, or any other daily activity. Putting the track together, pulling the trains around, operating bridges, turntables and adding extra elements such as people, buildings and animals can increase their imaginative power. Above all, your child not just learns about the evolution and notable bullet train facts but may share a good amount of quality time with parents and friends during pretend play that would improve their social and communication skills and makes happy memories together.