The history of railroad is long and arduous and is frequently hailed as the first big business to hit the modern world. When the mode of transport was first introduced, those that pioneered the revolution came out the other side more than a few dollars richer and their empire is still prevalent today with their descendants.
The introduction of mainstream locomotives had a drastic impact on nearly every occupation and interest thanks to it changing the way goods and people were transported. Of course, the transport is still in use today and has become an integral part of modern life. Commuters taking the train to work, people visiting loved ones from afar and freight trains carrying supplies traversing countries every single day, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that doesn’t benefit in some way from an efficient train network.
But how many people know the history of the railroad? From humble beginnings to one of the biggest ways to travel, trains have come a long way from horse-drawn, wooden wagons. It’s also important to note that modern trains are the safest they’ve ever been and derailments, collisions and pedestrian injuries are at their lowest rate, making it one of the safest forms of travel, but law firms that specialise in train incidents like Pottroff & Karlin are still needed. The railroads may be safer now than ever before, but accidents still happen, and when they do, the railroads are obliged to be held accountable for their lack of care when considering public safety.
The Early Days
In the 18th Century, funicular railways were already starting to become commonplace in industrial towns as a means to transport coal and iron from mines to coastal areas ready for shipping, but it took another decade or so for horse-driven crude carts to be introduced to mining areas and quarries.
While the horse-drawn trains were good enough for quarries and mines, businessmen and engineers were dreaming of a transport method that was able to traverse the country for longer periods and over further distance.
Capitalists in the United States soon began to draft ideas for a new network of railroads that would connect all of the USA’s key industrial cities, using the idea of steam engines thanks to the success of them on steamboats across the world.
It wasn’t until 1829 that a steam train was imported into the states, but this first steam train didn’t come without problems. After a test run, the carriages were deemed too heavy for the rails so were converted to stationary engines for cable railway parts of the transportation system.
The first success came from a homegrown locomotive, which made its first test run in 1831, from there, the railroad business began to boom and began to replace the old canal network which had previously been used to transport goods around the country.
Steam trains were hailed a massive success and business that used these in their infrastructure enjoyed an increase in efficiency and a much further reach for their goods to be moved around the country. Those that made the carriages, engines and tracks enjoyed even more profit and set themselves up for a life of ease thanks to the massive investment in the industry.
Over the last 100 years, trains were developed into luxury modes of transportation, with stations being opened to accommodate for passengers and being the vessel of choice for many people of importance.
While the industry suffered a decline in the 1920s because of the Great Depression, with less people using the trains and less ground being covered, the train and locomotive industry soon recovered when World War II brought railroads to its highest ridership since its conception.
Today, railroads are still used excessively by both the general public and business alike, being the cheapest and most efficient way to transport goods and services around the country and beyond.