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NY’s Grand Central Station Has 44 Passenger Platforms.

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The history of Train Day is the history of trains, and that history goes back farther than you might suspect. Railroads were actually a progression from wagonways, which were essentially railroads powered by horse, and have a history going back over 2000 years.

  • The reason wagonways (and of course railways) came into existence was one of simple practicality, you could transport larger loads over a greater distance with prepared paths!
  • The first ‘ways’ weren’t even created with metal rails, they were instead created with wooden rails, and in the distance path even cut-stone tracks.  By being carefully prepared you could increase the amount a single horse could haul from one ton to nearly 13 tons!
  • Of course, with wooden rails they had to be often replaced and so it became common practice to cover them with a thin metal plate to help the wood last. The industrial revolution changed all that, and metal rails are here to stay!
  • Trains are built to transport passengers or cargo along rail tracks.
  • Trains can be powered by a variety of energy sources including steam, diesel and electricity.
  • First high-speed trains ware Japan’s electric “bullet trains” running between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964.
  • The world’s fastest magnetic-levitation train used commercially is in Shanghai, China, and reaches speeds up to 431 kph (288 mph).
  • Trans-Siberian Railway at 9300 km (5,778 miles) ~ Moscow-Vladivostok ~ it is the longest direct rail route in the world, and entirely within Russia.It takes a minimum of a week to traverse that distance by train.
  • It is possible to travel from Portugal to Vietnam solely by train. At 17,000 km (10,560 miles), this is the longest train journey in the world.
  • In Japan, trains are so punctual that any delay over five minutes usually incurs an apology and a “delay certificate” for passengers on their way to work. When trains are delayed for an hour or more, it may even make the news.
  • In Moscow, stray dogs have learned to commute from the suburbs to the city. They reach the city, scavenge for food, then catch the train home in the evening.
  • There is an abandoned subway station under City Hall in New York that no train stops at but you can see it in passing if you take the number 6 train. – Source
  • In 1963, four Princeton students forced a local train to stop by parking a car on the tracks. With a gun loaded with blanks, they got on the train, picked four girls as their dates, and rode away with them on horseback. – Source
  • The fight scene on top of the train in Skyfall was actually filmed on top of a real moving train, and Daniel Craig did not use a stunt double. – Source
  • In 1907 a Mexican railroad brakeman named Jesus Garcia saved the entire town of Nacozari, Sonora by singlehandedly driving a damaged and burning train containing dynamite six kilometers away from the town before it finally exploded, killing him. – Source
  • In 1993, a 16 year-old Brooklyn teen pretended to be a subway conductor and drove a train for over 3 hours, safely picking up and discharging passengers at normal station stops along the route, before getting caught
  • First underground railway was also made in London. This small network of tunnels had problems with steam engine smoke, but its popularity never wavered.
  • Grand Central station in New York has 44 passenger platforms.
  • The term “horsepower” originated as a marketing tool. James Watt calculated how much power a single horse working in a mill could produce over a period of time (though many scientists now believe his estimates were far too high), a figure that he dubbed “horsepower.” Using this unit of measurement, he then came up with a figure that indicated how many horses just one of his engines could replace. The sales ploy worked—we’re still using the term “horsepower” today—and his engines soon became the industry standard, leading directly to invention of the first steam locomotive in 1804.
  • America’s first steam locomotive lost a race to a horse.
  • The world’s first travel agency got its start thanks to a train trip. In 1841, Englishman Thomas Cook, a Baptist minister, organized a train excursion for 540 parishioners to attend a temperance meeting in London. Cook negotiated a set fare for passengers, including tickets and a meal. The trip was so successful that he expanded his operations.

Sources:

Days of the Year

Just Fun Facts

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Train History

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