Topic: Trains

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🔗 Isambard Kingdom Brunel

🔗 Biography 🔗 London 🔗 Trains 🔗 Civil engineering 🔗 Ships 🔗 River Thames 🔗 Wiltshire 🔗 Hampshire 🔗 Bristol 🔗 Trains/UK Railways

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (; 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859) was a British civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history", "one of the 19th-century engineering giants", and "one of the greatest figures of the Industrial Revolution, [who] changed the face of the English landscape with his groundbreaking designs and ingenious constructions". Brunel built dockyards, the Great Western Railway (GWR), a series of steamships including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionised public transport and modern engineering.

Though Brunel's projects were not always successful, they often contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems. During his career, Brunel achieved many engineering firsts, including assisting in the building of the first tunnel under a navigable river and the development of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven, ocean-going, iron ship, which, when launched in 1843, was the largest ship ever built.

On the GWR, Brunel set standards for a well-built railway, using careful surveys to minimise gradients and curves. This necessitated expensive construction techniques, new bridges, new viaducts, and the two-mile (3.2 km) long Box Tunnel. One controversial feature was the wide gauge, a "broad gauge" of 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm), instead of what was later to be known as "standard gauge" of 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm). He astonished Britain by proposing to extend the GWR westward to North America by building steam-powered, iron-hulled ships. He designed and built three ships that revolutionised naval engineering: the SS Great Western (1838), the SS Great Britain (1843), and the SS Great Eastern (1859).

In 2002, Brunel was placed second in a BBC public poll to determine the "100 Greatest Britons". In 2006, the bicentenary of his birth, a major programme of events celebrated his life and work under the name Brunel 200.

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🔗 General Motors Streetcar Conspiracy

🔗 California 🔗 Business 🔗 Politics 🔗 Trains 🔗 Trains/Rapid transit 🔗 Buses 🔗 Trains/Streetcars

The notion of a General Motors streetcar conspiracy emerged after General Motors (GM) and other companies were convicted of monopolizing the sale of buses and supplies to National City Lines (NCL) and its subsidiaries. In the same case, the defendants were accused of conspiring to own or control transit systems, in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust act. The suit created lingering suspicions that the defendants had in fact plotted to dismantle streetcar systems in many cities in the United States as an attempt to monopolize surface transportation.

Between 1938 and 1950, National City Lines and its subsidiaries, American City Lines and Pacific City Lines—with investment from GM, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California (through a subsidiary), Federal Engineering, Phillips Petroleum, and Mack Trucks—gained control of additional transit systems in about 25 cities. Systems included St. Louis, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Oakland. NCL often converted streetcars to bus operations in that period, although electric traction was preserved or expanded in some locations. Other systems, such as San Diego's, were converted by outgrowths of the City Lines. Most of the companies involved were convicted in 1949 of conspiracy to monopolize interstate commerce in the sale of buses, fuel, and supplies to NCL subsidiaries, but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the transit industry.

The story as an urban legend has been written about by Martha Bianco, Scott Bottles, Sy Adler, Jonathan Richmond, and Robert Post. It has been explored several times in print, film, and other media, notably in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Taken for a Ride, Internal Combustion, and The End of Suburbia.

Only a handful of U.S. cities, including San Francisco, New Orleans, Newark, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Boston, have surviving legacy rail urban transport systems based on streetcars, although their systems are significantly smaller than they once were. Other cities are re-introducing streetcars. In some cases, the streetcars do not actually ride on the street. Boston had all of its downtown lines elevated or buried by the mid-1920s, and most of the surviving lines at grade operate on their own right of way. However, San Francisco's and Philadelphia's lines do have large portions of the route that ride on the street as well as using tunnels.

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🔗 The Diolkos: an ancient Greek paved trackway enabling boats to be moved overland

🔗 Classical Greece and Rome 🔗 Greece 🔗 Trains 🔗 Archaeology

The Diolkos (Δίολκος, from the Greek διά, dia "across" and ὁλκός, holkos "portage machine") was a paved trackway near Corinth in Ancient Greece which enabled boats to be moved overland across the Isthmus of Corinth. The shortcut allowed ancient vessels to avoid the long and dangerous circumnavigation of the Peloponnese peninsula. The phrase "as fast as a Corinthian", penned by the comic playwright Aristophanes, indicates that the trackway was common knowledge and had acquired a reputation for swiftness.

The main function of the Diolkos was the transfer of goods, although in times of war it also became a preferred means of speeding up naval campaigns. The 6 km (3.7 mi) to 8.5 km (5.3 mi) long roadway was a rudimentary form of railway, and operated from c. 600 BC until the middle of the 1st century AD. The scale on which the Diolkos combined the two principles of the railway and the overland transport of ships remained unique in antiquity.

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🔗 Crush, Texas

🔗 United States 🔗 Trains 🔗 United States/Texas

Crush, Texas was a temporary "city" established as the site of a one-day publicity stunt in the U.S. state of Texas in 1896. William George Crush, general passenger agent of the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad (popularly known as the "Katy", from its "M-K-T" initials), conceived the idea in order to demonstrate a staged train wreck as a public spectacle. No admission was charged, and train fares to the crash site were offered at the reduced rate of US$2 (equivalent to $61.46 in 2019) from any location in Texas.

As a result, an estimated 40,000 people—more people than lived in the state's second-largest city at the time—attended the exhibition on Tuesday, September 15, 1896. The event planned to showcase the deliberate head-on collision of two unmanned locomotives at high speed; unexpectedly, the impact caused both engine boilers to explode, resulting in a shower of flying debris that killed two people and caused numerous injuries among the spectators.

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🔗 60163 Tornado, the first new build British mainline steam locomotive since 1960

🔗 Trains 🔗 Trains/UK Railways 🔗 Trains/Locomotives

LNER Peppercorn Class A1 No. 60163 Tornado is a 4-6-2 steam locomotive completed in 2008 to an original design by Arthur Peppercorn. It is the first new build British mainline steam locomotive since 1960, and the only Peppercorn Class A1 in existence after the original batch were scrapped. In 2017, Tornado became the first steam locomotive to officially reach 100 mph (160 km/h) on British tracks in over 50 years.

After the project was founded by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust in 1990, construction of Tornado began in 1994 and mostly took place at Darlington Works, with other components manufactured elsewhere. The project was financed through fundraising initiatives, public donations, sponsorship deals, and hiring out Tornado itself for special services. The locomotive was granted its mainline certificate in January 2009, having been designed in compliance with modern safety and certification standards. Tornado has worked on heritage and mainline trains across Britain since 2008. In 2022, it was withdrawn for overhaul.

🔗 Gotthard Base Tunnel

🔗 Trains 🔗 Bridges and Tunnels

The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT; German: Gotthard-Basistunnel, Italian: Galleria di base del San Gottardo, Romansh: Tunnel da basa dal Son Gottard) is a railway tunnel through the Alps in Switzerland. It opened on 1 June 2016, and full service began on 11 December 2016. With a route length of 57.09 km (35.5 mi), it is the world's longest railway and deepest traffic tunnel and the first flat, low-level route through the Alps. It lies at the heart of the Gotthard axis and constitutes the third tunnel connecting the cantons of Uri and Ticino, after the Gotthard Tunnel and the Gotthard Road Tunnel.

The link consists of two single-track tunnels connecting Erstfeld (Uri) with Bodio (Ticino) and passing below Sedrun (Graubünden). It is part of the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA) project, which also includes the Ceneri Base Tunnel further south (scheduled to open late 2020) and the Lötschberg Base Tunnel on the other main north–south axis. It is referred to as a "base tunnel" since it bypasses most of the existing Gotthard railway line, a winding mountain route opened in 1882 across the Saint-Gotthard Massif, which was operating at its capacity before the opening of the GBT. The new base tunnel establishes a direct route usable by high-speed rail and heavy freight trains.

The main purpose of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is to increase local transport capacity through the Alpine barrier, especially for freight, notably on the Rotterdam–Basel–Genoa corridor, and more specifically to shift freight volumes from trucks to freight trains. This both significantly reduces the danger of fatal road crashes involving trucks, and reduces the environmental damage caused by heavy trucks. The tunnel provides a faster connection between the canton of Ticino and the rest of Switzerland, as well as between northern and southern Europe, cutting the Basel/Zürich–Lugano–Milan journey time for passenger trains by one hour (and from Lucerne to Bellinzona by 45 minutes).

After 64 percent of Swiss voters accepted the NRLA project in a 1992 referendum, first preparatory and exploratory work began in 1996. The official start of construction began on 4 November 1999 at Amsteg. Drilling operations in the eastern tunnel were completed on 15 October 2010 in a breakthrough ceremony broadcast live on Swiss TV, and in the western tunnel on 23 March 2011. The tunnel's constructor, AlpTransit Gotthard AG, originally planned to hand over the tunnel to Swiss Federal Railways (SBB CFF FFS) in operating condition in December 2016 but, on 4 February 2014, the handover date was changed to 5 June 2016 with the start of an 850-day opening countdown calendar on the AlpTransit homepage. As of 1998, the total projected cost of the project was CHF 6.323 billion; as of December 2015, the final cost is projected as CHF 9.560 billion. Nine people died during construction.

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🔗 Railway Time

🔗 Trains 🔗 Trains/UK Railways 🔗 Trains/Rail transport in Germany

Railway time was the standardised time arrangement first applied by the Great Western Railway in England in November 1840, the first recorded occasion when different local mean times were synchronised and a single standard time applied. The key goals behind introducing railway time were to overcome the confusion caused by having non-uniform local times in each town and station stop along the expanding railway network and to reduce the incidence of accidents and near misses, which were becoming more frequent as the number of train journeys increased.

Railway time was progressively taken up by all railway companies in Great Britain over the following seven years. The schedules by which trains were organised and the time station clocks displayed were brought in line with the local mean time for London or "London Time", the time set at Greenwich by the Royal Observatory, which was already widely known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

The development of railway networks in North America in the 1850s, India in around 1860, and in Europe, prompted the introduction of standard time influenced by geography, industrial development, and political governance.

The railway companies sometimes faced concerted resistance from local people who refused to adjust their public clocks to bring them into line with London Time. As a consequence, two different times would be displayed in the town and in use, with the station clocks and the times published in train timetables differing by several minutes from that on other clocks. Despite this early reluctance, railway time rapidly became adopted as the default time across the whole of Great Britain, although it took until 1880 for the government to legislate on the establishment of a single standard time and a single time zone for the country.

Some contemporary commentators referred to the influence of railway time on encouraging greater precision in daily tasks and the demand for punctuality.

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🔗 Cincinnati Subway

🔗 United States 🔗 Trains 🔗 United States/Ohio 🔗 Trains/Rapid transit 🔗 United States/Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Subway is a set of incomplete, derelict tunnels and stations for a rapid transit system beneath the streets of Cincinnati, Ohio. Although it is only a little over 2 miles in length, it is the largest abandoned subway tunnel system in the United States. Construction began in the early 1900s as an upgrade to the Cincinnati streetcar system, but was abandoned due to escalating costs, the collapse of funding amidst political bickering, and the Great Depression during the 1920s and 1930s.

In 1928, the construction of the subway system in Cincinnati was indefinitely canceled. There are no plans to revive the project.

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🔗 Train ferry

🔗 Trains 🔗 Ships

A train ferry is a ship (ferry) designed to carry railway vehicles. Typically, one level of the ship is fitted with railway tracks, and the vessel has a door at the front and/or rear to give access to the wharves. In the United States, train ferries are sometimes referred to as "car ferries", as distinguished from "auto ferries" used to transport automobiles. The wharf (sometimes called a "slip") has a ramp, and a linkspan or "apron", balanced by weights, that connects the railway proper to the ship, allowing for the water level to rise and fall with the tides.

While railway vehicles can be and are shipped on the decks or in the holds of ordinary ships, purpose-built train ferries can be quickly loaded and unloaded by roll-on/roll-off, especially as several vehicles can be loaded or unloaded at once. A train ferry that is a barge is called a car float or rail barge.

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🔗 Symmetry Minute

🔗 Trains

The symmetry minute is a significant time point in the clock face timetables used by many public transport operators. At this point in the cycle, a train in a clock-face timetable meets its counterpart travelling in the opposite direction on the same line. If this crossing time is constant across a network, connecting times between lines are kept consistent in both directions.

At the symmetry time, the timetable is mirrored in both directions. At the ends of the line, the center of the turnaround time coincides with the symmetry minute. The distance between two consecutive symmetry times is equal to half the cycle time, so on an hourly schedule, opposite trains on the same line cross every 30 minutes. On a two-hour cycle, there is a symmetry time every hour.

In principle, a train-encounter can be set at any time. However, at the transition between two networks or lines, it is expedient to set uniform symmetry minutes, to create a symmetrical connection relation. For the long-distance cycle systems of ÖBB and SBB, the Forschungsgesellschaft für Straßen- und Verkehrswesen für Deutschland (Research Association for Roads and Traffic for Germany) recommends minute 58, so a four-minute minimum connecting time results in a departure at minute 0. Meanwhile, most railways in Central Europe and a number of other transport operators have established the symmetry minute 58½, for a three-minute hold time before a departure at minute 0. Shorter cycles have additional symmetry minutes, shifted by half the cycle time. So an hourly cycle has symmetries at minutes 28½ and 58½, a 30-minute cycle has symmetries at minutes 13½, 28½, 43½ and 58½, and so on.

The following table shows the departure times in opposite directions for an hourly cycle, using the 58½ symmetry minute (the most common in Central Europe). The other departure times for shorter cycles can be calculated from it. The last line gives the meeting times.

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