transportation

Georges Nagelmackers and the Orient Express

Georges Nagelmackers and the Orient Express

On October 4, 1874, Belgian entrepreneur Georges Nagelmackers founded the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits, the company known for the Orient Express trains. The Orient Express service was a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883. The route and rolling stock of the Orient Express changed many times. Several routes in the past concurrently used the Orient Express name, or slight variants thereof. Although the original Orient Express was simply a normal international railway service,…
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The Tower Subway – the World’s First Tube Railway

The Tower Subway – the World’s First Tube Railway

On August 2, 1870, the Tower Subway, the first tube railway in the world, was opened under the River Thames in London, England. Engineer James Henry Greathead used a tunnelling shield he modified from Barlow’s design to bore the 6-ft diameter tunnel near the Tower of London. It opened with steam operated lifts and a 12-seat carriage shuttled from end to end by wire rope powered by a steam engine. In the 19th century,…
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Mixing Up a Plane with a Train – Franz Kruckenberg’s Schienenzeppelin

Mixing Up a Plane with a Train – Franz Kruckenberg’s Schienenzeppelin

On 21 June 1931, Franz Kruckenberg’s Schienenzeppelin (rail zeppelin) set a new world railway speed record of 230.2 km/h (143.0 mph) on the Berlin–Hamburg line between Karstädt and Dergenthin, which was not surpassed by any other rail vehicle until 1954. The famous Schienenzeppelin was anticipated by the design of the Aerowagon, an experimental Russian high-speed railcar fitted with an aircraft engine and propeller traction invented by Valerian Abakovsky, a Soviet engineer from Latvia. It…
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The Legend of the Pony Express

The Legend of the Pony Express

On April 3, 1860, the Pony Express started delivering messages, newspapers, mail, even small packages from St. Joseph, Missouri across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada to Sacramento, California by horseback, using a series of relay stations. Although being an economic disaster, the Pony Express has become a U.S. national legend. In January 1848, Gold was discovered in California, but the poor communication between the east and…
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My Hovercraft is full of Eels’

My Hovercraft is full of Eels’

Royal Marine LCAC(LR) Hovercraft Image: UK Ministry of Defence On December 12, 1955, English engineer Christopher Cockerell filed the patent for his new invention, the hovercraft, a craft capable of traveling over land, water, mud or ice and other surfaces both at speed and when stationary. “My hovercraft is full of eels”…”Ahh matches!”. Many of you may know these famous sentences by Monty Python’s Flying Circus in ‘the Hungarian Phrase Book’. However,…
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The Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge On December 8, 1864, the Clifton Suspension Bridge spanning the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was openend for the public. Although Brunel was not able to see the bridge in operation anymore during his lifetime, the Clifton Suspension bridge was the first major commision of the famous engineer of the Great Western Railroad and the then largest steamships in the world. In the…
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Tōkaidō Shinkansen – the Bullet Train

Tōkaidō Shinkansen – the Bullet Train

Tōkaidō Shinkansen passing tea fields between Shizuoka and Kakegawa On October 1, 1964, the world’s first high speed train, the Tōkaidō Shinkansen started operation between Tokyo and Osaka. Even though construction work started in 1959, the plans for the high speed train were made in the 1940s. It was planned to achieve a maximum speed of 150 km/h and connect the city of Tokyo with Shimonoseki. With a speed of 150 km/h, the…
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