Sakhalia NetPHP PagesGraphics DivisionBaykal.esAcceptance of cookiesAcceptance of cookies

Ten years later, cars with a metallic frame and a box always made in wood, of increasingly larger dimensions, began to circulate to grant better comfort to passengers. In 1858, George M. Pullman built in United States the first cars which were named after him. Also in that time it was started the construction of cars, and even complete trains, for the members of the diverse royal houses, being specially notorius that built by Robert Stephenson for the viceroy of Egypt in 1859, filled with ornaments made of golden bronze. Very curious was also the train built for Napoleon III; composed of nine cars externally painted in green and gold, and with abundance of bronze ornaments, its interior was fitted with sofas disposed in such a way that allowed to turn their back towards the windows.

Locomotive of the viceroy of Egypt
Robert Stephenson built this "tourism" locomotive in 1859 for the viceroy of Egypt.
British royal car
Interior of a car of the British royal train.

How were solved in that time the problems of lighting and heating? The first one with vegetable oil, which emitted a scarce, trembling light along with abundant smoke, and it was not rare that passengers found their clothes and hair stained with oil, an inconvenience that remained even when vegetable oil was replaced by mineral oil. Diverse lanterns were distributed in the interior of the cars along with a small deposit for feeding them. It was also tried the lighting by means of acetylene gas, but this method resulted dangerous and so it was soon abandoned. It is easy to imagine how satisfying it was the arrival of electric lightning for both passengers and railway operators.

American railway lanterns
Models of lanterns used for lighting in American wagons.

For heating, hot-water foot warmers were initially provided, which were replaced in the stations through payment of a small fee, and later replaced by steam foot warmers. In Germany were used braziers with chemical fuel of low combustion, to allow heat to last longer. The East Company was the first one that installed thermosyphons in the cars. In return, electric heating was introduced in Europe by the Italians when they electrified a railroad (the line Milan-Varese) for the first time. Very important was also the introduction of toilets with washbasins in every car, divided in three classes, of which the first class had a steam brazier beautifully covered with fabrics, and seats and backrests upholstered in velvet. Dining and sleeping cars were reserved for luxury trains; among these was the Indian Mail which connected, through France, London with Brindisi; from there the line reached Bombay by making use of maritime lines as well.

Drawing room car, 1866
Sleeping car with drawing room, 1866.
Pullman car, 1872
Interior of a Pullman luxury car in service in the American transcontinental line, 1872.

Freight cars, either with closed or open box, also suffered notable transformations along the years, but remaining in a single style, of closed, open or platform types. The use of wood is restricted in modern wagons to the floor and the sides in those wagons intended for loads whose emanations could deteriorate the metals. Freight wagons generally have a length between 8 and 16 meters. The Americans introduced the containers, which are large autonomous boxes, of easy transport from the storehouses to the railway stations and equally easy to load on platforms, building them in such a way that allows to tie one to each other, side by side. Other modern types are the refrigerator wagons and the tank cars.

British postal car
British postal car from the 19th century.
British freight car
Freight car of the London and North Western Railway, company which operated between 1846 and 1922.
British postal car
Interior of a large British postal car.
American freight car
Burton freight car with capacity for up to 20 cows or 18 horses.
American van wagon
American van wagon destined to carry luggage, freight or mail in passenger trains.

The railways

A distinguished British statesman ended his speech in favor of the railways with these words: "Let the railways be created and the railways will create the city". And the facts demonstrated that he was right. The first railways were created without a preset layout, having very present the great obstacles created by the nature; because of that they were built in flat terrains and valleys, with relatively short lengths. Later, as for the ordinary roads, also the layouts for the railroads were a subject of study and it was attempted to overcome the geographic obstacles by excavating tunnels and building bridges and viaducts. Before explaining how these difficulties were overcome, it would be convenient to remember in what consists the equipment that forms the railway infrastructure.

This equipment, which distinguishes a railroad from an ordinary road, is a rather costly element. It is formed by a roadbed (a layer of ballast or gravel), the sleepers, the rails and other small elements that complete the infrastructure. The roadbed is placed in a compact way in the bottom of the railroad to prevent the rails from sinking in the terrain due to the weight of the trains. The sleepers, placed above the roadbed, tie the rails to each other and add firmness to the whole ensemble. In older railroads wooden sleepers were used, being the best those made from larch or oak, while in more modern railroads concrete sleepers are used. In any case, above them are fixed the elements that hold and guide the rails. The closer the sleepers are to each other, the higher is the resistance that they offer.

Continue reading...