transportation

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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William Wilson and the First German Railway

William Wilson and the First German Railway

On April 17, 1862, British mechanical engineer William Wilson passed away. He was the first engine driver of the locomotive Adler on the first German railway. There was a time, when every little boy wanted to become an engineer or engine driver. Master of the huge and powerful machine, driving the rails, faster and faster. But, this was already way before my time. I wanted to become an astronaut. What did I…
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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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Road Trippin’ with Alice Ramsey

Road Trippin’ with Alice Ramsey

Alice Ramsey(1886 – 1983)Image: Library of Congress On August 7, 1909, Alice Ramsey together with her companions reached San Francisco, successfully finishing the first crossing of the USA with an automobile by a woman. She arrived at San Francisco 60 days after her start in New York. The journey began on June 9, 1909 in New York City. The four women got ready for a last photo shoot and kissed their husbands…
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Stephenson’s Rocket wins the Rainhill Trials

Stephenson’s Rocket wins the Rainhill Trials

On October 8, 1829, George Stephenson‘s steam locomotive ‘The Rocket‘ won The Rainhill Trials, an important competition in the early days of steam locomotive railways, run in Rainhill, Lancashire (now Merseyside) for the nearly completed Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was about to get finished, it was the first twin-track inter city passenger railway and the operators did not know whether to use steam engines or locomotives to…
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The Opening of the Panama Canal

The Opening of the Panama Canal

On August 15, 1914, the very first ship, the cargo ship SS Ancon passed the newly built Panama Canal. Unfortunately, in the same month, World War I started fighting in Europe and the official opening ceremony had to be postponed until 1920. The Panama Canal is an 82 km long ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean and therefore also a key…
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