Timeline of railway history
From Academic Kids
This is a timeline of rail transport history.
- c1550 Horse-drawn wagonways appear in Germany.
- 1761 First iron rails laid at Bath, England.
- 1782 Scottish engineer James Watt invents first steam engine able to turn wheels.
- 1789 English engineer William Jessop uses flanged iron wheels on iron edge rails on coal railway at Loughborough, Leicestershire.
- 1803 Arguably, the world's first public railway, the Surrey Iron Railway opens in south London.
- 1804 World's first Steam locomotive built by Richard Trevithick.
- 1807 First paying passenger service on the Oystermouth Railway, better known as the Swansea and Mumbles Railway
- 1814 George Stephenson constructs his first locomotive, Blucher.
- 1825 Stephenson's Stockton and Darlington Railway, the world's first steam operated railway opens, carrying freight from a Colliery to a river port.
- 1829 George and Robert Stephenson's locomotive, The Rocket, sets a speed record of 47 km/h (29 mph) at the Rainhill Trials held near Liverpool.
- 1830 The Liverpool and Manchester Railway opens, and the first railway passenger service is started. The line proves the viabillity of rail transport, and large scale railway construction begins in Britain, and then spreads throughout the world. The Railway age begins.
- 1835 In Belgium a railway was opened on May 5 between Brussels and Mechelen. It was the first railway in continental Europe.
- 1837 The first German railway line connects Leipzig with Althen near Wurzen, in 1839 the line reaches Dresden.
- 1851 First train in India
- 1853 Passenger train makes in debut in Bombay, India
- 1853 Indianapolis' Union Station, the first "union station" in the world, opened by the Terre Haute and Richmond Railroad, Madison and Indianapolis Railroad, and Bellefontaine Railroad in the United States.
- 1855 the Panama Railway completed, the first transcontinental railway
- 1857 Steel rails first used in Britain.
- 1863 World's first underground railway opened in London.
- 1863 Scotsman Robert Fairlie invents the Fairlie locomotive with pivoted driving bogies, allowing trains to negotiate tighter curves in the track. This innovation proves rare for steam locomotives but is the model for most future diesel and electric locomotives.
- 1865 Pullman sleeping car introduced in the USA.
- 1869 The First Transcontinental Railroad (North America) completed across the United States.
- 1869 George Westinghouse establishes the Westinghouse Air Brake Company in the United States.
- 1877 Vacuum brakes are invented in the United States.
- 1879 First electric railway demonstrated at the Berlin Trades Fair.
- 1881 World's first public electric railway opened in Germany. One of the first railway lines in the Middle East was built between Tehran and Rayy in Iran.
- 1888 Frank Sprague installs the "trolleypole" trolley system in Richmond, Virginia, making it the first working electric street railway.
- 1890 World's first electric underground railway opened in London.
- 1891 Construction begins on the 9,313 km (5,787 mile) long Trans-Siberian railway in Russia. Construction completed in 1904. Webb C. Ball establishes first Railway Watch official guidelines for Railroad chronometers.
- 1908 London, Brighton and South Coast Railway opens first suburban electric train service between Victoria station and London Bridge in south London
- 1913 First diesel powered railcar enters service in Sweden.
- 1926 First diesel locomotive service introduced in Canada.
- 1934 First diesel-powered streamlined passenger train in America (the Burlington Zephyr) introduced at the Chicago World's Fair.
- 1938 In England, the world speed record for steam traction is set by the Mallard which reaches a speed of 203 km/h (126 mph).
- 1939 In Persia the Trans-Iranian Railway was opened, built entirely by local capital.
- 1960s-2000s many countries adopt high-speed rail in an attempt to make rail transport competitive with both road transport and air transport.
- 1964 Bullet Train service introduced in Japan, between Tokyo and Osaka. Trains average speeds of 160 km/h (100 mph).
- 1970 Penn Central goes bankrupt, the United States' largest corporate bankruptcy up to that time.
- 1979 High speed TGV trains introduced in France, TGV trains travel at an average speed of 213 km/h (132 mph) and with a top speed of 300 km/h (187 mph).
- 1987 World speed record for a diesel locomotive is set in Britain by British Rail's High Speed Train, which reaches a speed of 238 km/h (148 mph).
- 1990 World speed record for an electric train, is set in France by a TGV, which reaches a speed of 515 km/h (320 mph).
- 1990s Amtrak introduces the Acela Express on the Northeast Corridor in the United States.