Saturday, 15 May 2010

The railway...

The track at Bracknell Train Station.
If you know anything about me you will know that I love metal! Sculptures, structures, tracks, vehicles...anything! The reason for it is the way it exists as new and then the way it ages (I prefer the latter). I do enjoy history too so when I come across something I like, I try to find out where it came from, so here is a little history lesson about the railway. Firstly in my research for this blog I discovered that there is an International Railway Gazette Magazine! Yes really there is!!! Check it out @ Before the history though I must show you some photography... The images below I took quite by accident and have had for some time. I attended a UN Food Program Conference in Oxford and whilst there had to move the car during the lunch break. Having never been to Oxford before, my friend and I did not know where to park so thought we would try our luck at the railway station. When we got there we drove straight past the 'do not drive past this point' sign and found ourselves in the part of the railway where they disposed of or at least abandoned old trains. I saw  rust and my eyes lit up and I quickly jumped out of the car (much to my friend's whole 'not focusing on the problem at hand' attitude was not helpful I admit...) but look at the result of that 5 minutes! hope she forgives me now...

Brief History of the railway... The earliest known record of a railway in Europe from this period is a stained-glass window in the Minster of Freiburg im Breisgau in Germany, dating from around 1350.  In 1515, Cardinal Matthäus Langwrote a description of the Reisszug, a funicular railway at the Hohensalzburg Castle in Austria. The line originally used wooden rails and a hemp haulage rope, and was operated by human or animal power. The line still exists, albeit in updated form, and is probably the oldest railway still to operate.

The world's oldest continually working railway, built in 1758, is the Middleton Railway in Leeds. In 1764, the first gravity railroad in the United States was built in Lewiston, New York. The first permanent was the 1810 Leiper Railroad. The first iron plate rail way made with cast iron plats on top of wooden rails, was taken into use in 1768. This allowed a variation of gauge to be used. At first only balloon loopscould be used for turning, but later, movable points were taken into use, that allowed for switching. From the 1790s, iron edge rails began to appear in the United Kingdom. In 1803, William Jessop opened the Surrey Iron Railway in south London, arguably the world's first horse-drawn public railway. Hot rolling iron allowed the brittle, and often uneven, cast iron rails to be replaced by wrought iron in 1805. These were succeeded by steel in 1857.
The development of the steam engine spurred ideas for mobile steam locomotives that could haul trains on tracks. The first was patented by James Watt in 1794. In 1804, Richard Trevithick demonstrated the first locomotive-hauled train in Merthyr Tydfil, United Kingdom. Experiments with electrical railways were started by Robert Davidson in 1838. He completed a battery-powered carriage capable of 6.4 km/h (4 mph). TheGiant's Causeway Tramway was the first to use electricity fed to the trains en-route, using a third rail, when it opened in 1883. Overhead wires were taken into use in 1888. At first this was taken into use on tramways that until then had been horse-hauled tramcars. The first conventional electrified railway was the Roslag Line in Sweden. During the 1890s, many large cities, such as London, Paris and New York used the new technology to build rapid transit for urban commuting. In smaller cities, tramways became common, and were often the only mode of public transport until the introduction of buses in the 1920s. [] And the rest shall we say... is history!

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