Portal:Trains/Did you know/July 2007
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- ...that when Melbourne, Australia's Harris suburban EMU fleet reached the end of its life in the 1980s, one single carriage went to a museum, 16 carriages were (unsuccessfully) refurbished as new EMUs, 55 carriages were refurbished into locomotive-hauled interurban carriages, and the remaining carriages were wrapped in plastic and buried in a quarry due to concerns about their asbestos insulation?
- ...that the Minsk Metro in Belarus was first opened in 1984 and typical of many Soviet-era metro systems, features vividly decorated stations, with themes ranging from Belarusian national motifs, Socialist realism through to Postmodern/'high-tech' decorations?
- ...that "yard slug" is a term used to describe a supplementary locomotive unit consisting of traction motors with no cab or prime mover, used in low-speed switching/shunting operations where high tractive effort is required and a diesel-electric locomotive prime mover produces more horsepower than its own traction motors can use?
- ...that a key reason for the difference in appearance between the Taiwan High Speed 700T train and the Japanese 700 Series Shinkansen on which it is based is the larger tunnel diameter used on the Taiwanese system, which has allowed for a shorter "nose" on the train without compromising aerodynamic (pressure pulse) performance when entering tunnels?
- ...that the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company exported railway vehicles to railways around the world, including Argentina's presidential coach, built in 1910 and still intact, which once carried Eva Perón?
- ...that the Kylchap multi-stage steam locomotive exhaust system takes its name from the two persons responsible for its design: the Finnish engineer Kylälä who designed the "spreader" stage, and the renowned French locomotive designer André Chapelon who patented the final design?
- ...that the British Rail Class 13 locomotives consisted of a 'master' and 'slave' configuration (also described in the USA as a Cow-calf configuration) in which two locomotives were permanently coupled, the 'slave' unit being cabless and driven from the 'master' unit, to enable hump shunting where a larger, single rigid locomotive could not be used due to the risk of grounding on the hump?
- ...that the iconic Japanese 0 Series Shinkansen "bullet trains", which revolutionised high speed rail in 1964, went out of production in 1986 and due to a policy of retiring Shinkansen rolling stock after fifteen years, all but six of the series have now been withdrawn from service?
- ...that the Panama Limited, an American luxury train service operating between Chicago, Illinois and New Orleans, Louisiana, took its name in 1911 not from Panama as a destination, but in honour of the anticipated opening of the Panama Canal which was nearing completion?
- ...that the European Train Control System (ETCS) is a signaling and control system designed to replace the 14 incompatible safety systems currently used by European railways to allow greater interoperability across different railway systems by high speed trains?
- ...that with the completion of the HSL-Zuid ("Southern High-Speed Line"), a 125-kilometre (78 mi) long high-speed railway line currently under construction in the Netherlands and Belgium, the TGV Thalys high speed trains that currently serve the Paris to Brussels route will operate from Paris all the way to Amsterdam?
- ...that one of the key economic advantages of building a narrow gauge railway, the lower cost of building brought by lighter construction, also forms one of the key economic disadvantages when increased speed or haulage capability is required, as they are typically impractical to improve in comparison to standard gauge or broad gauge railways?
- ...that the Trans-Australian Railway, a 1051.73 mile (1692.60 km) railway across the Nullabor Plain forming a key part of the east-west transcontinental route between Sydney, New South Wales, and Perth, Western Australia, crosses no permanent watercourse along its entire route thus requiring the steam locomotives that originally worked the line to carry their own water, which could represent up to half of the total load of the train?
- ...that Penn Central Transportation, created on February 1, 1968, from the merger of the rival Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad companies, shocked the American financial system when it filed for what was the United States' largest corporate bankruptcy just two years later?
- ...that the Rift Valley Railways Consortium has recently won the rights to operate the Kenya-Uganda railway, a service colloquially referred to as the 'Lunatic Express'?
- ...that the now-closed Woodhead Line was the only railway line in the United Kingdom to be electrified using 1500 volts direct current; by the time the line's electrification had been completed in 1955 British Rail had settled on the more modern 25 kV AC technology as the standard for future electrification projects?
- ...that although Bavaria's Bayerische Ludwigsbahn is recorded as the first railway in modern-day Germany to operate with locomotive-hauled services, most services in its early years were in fact horse-drawn due to the high cost of importing coal from neighbouring Saxony?
- ...that Sweden's Inlandsbanan railway, which extends 1,300 kilometers (810 mi) from Kristinehamn to Gällivare, was originally intended to be completed by 1924 but due to delays caused by factors such as economic recession and labour shortages was not completed until 1937?
- ...that the Lonie Report, a study of freight and passenger transport within Victoria, Australia, published on September 26, 1980, recommended the replacement by road coaches of all VicRail country passenger rail services other than the Geelong line, closure of a number of rail and tram lines within Melbourne, as well as a major expansion of the road system?
- ...that during World War II, a Great Western Railway passenger train reached speeds of up to 90 mph (145 km/h) while being pursued and fired upon by a German aircraft along the main line to Wales, with the train's driver eventually stopping the train in the shelter of the Severn Tunnel to avoid further attack?
- ...that the luxury of South Africa's Blue Train is such that many compartments on the train are equipped with their own full-sized bathtubs, in addition to other appointments such as gold tinted windows, extensive soundproofing, and a butler for each carriage?
- ...that the first railway guns used in combat were constructed and used during the American Civil War, when guns and mortars were mounted on flatcars and during the Siege of Petersburg?
- ...that the Franco-Crosti boiler was a modification of the conventional steam locomotive firetube boiler designed to improve thermal efficiency by recirculating exhaust gases exiting from the main boiler through a secondary boiler acting as a feedwater heater?
- ...that efforts to restore and reopen the Welsh Highland Railway were initially hampered by the legal status of the original operating company, which was complicated by the death of all its directors, officers and even shareholders, the destruction of its registered address, and finally the death of the company's liquidator?
- ...that the South African Railways GL class Garratt boasted a prodigious 89,130 lbs of tractive effort yet an axle load of just 18.5 t, and for thirty years regularly hauled 1,200 ton coal trains up gradients of 1 in 50 between Glencoe and Vryheid?
- ...that the Trans Europ Express network of premier passenger services, which ran across different rail systems between major European capitals, were originally entirely diesel-hauled as the electrification schemes of the various joint operators ran to different voltages and in many cases did not extend to their respective national borders?
- ...that the German DRG Class SVT 137 high speed diesel multiple unit trains and their DRG Class SVT 877 prototype set a series of speed records during the 1930s including a world speed record of 205 km/h (127 mph) set on 17 February 1936 and regularly scheduled average speeds as high as 132 km/h (82 mph)?
- ...that Caprotti valve gear, a type of steam locomotive valve gear based on the design of automotive valve drive systems, uses camshafts and poppet valves rather than the piston valves used in the more common but less efficient Walschaerts valve gear?
- ...that of the four remaining C38 class 4-6-2 steam locomotives of New South Wales, Australia, one (unstreamlined C38 No. 3813) has remained in a dismantled state since the 1970s when a major overhaul of the locomotive was cancelled mid-project by the incoming Commissioner of the New South Wales Public Transport Commission?
- ...that although the Norges Statsbaner (Norwegian State Railways) BM73 high speed electric multiple unit trains were designed to run at up to 210 km/h and are equipped with a tilting mechanism to take corners at high speeds, two derailments have pointed to possible design faults and the class continues to operate services at conventional train speeds?
- ...that the new Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Central Station) which opened in 2006 is built on the site of the former Lehrter Bahnhof, an historic station dating back to 1871 which fell into disuse in 1950s after the division of Germany and was eventually demolished?