Ten years later started to circulate cars with metallic frame and box always made in wood, of increasingly larger dimensions, to grant the passengers better comfort. In 1858, George M. Pullman built in United States the first cars which took their name from him. Also was started in that time the construction of cars and even complete trains for the members of the diverse royal houses, being specially notorius the one built by Robert Stephenson for the viceroy of Egypt in 1859, filled of ornaments in golden bronze. Very curious was also the train built for Napoleon III; composed of nine cars painted in green and gold in its external part, and with abundance of bronze ornaments, it had in its interior sofas disposed in such a way that allowed to turn the back on the windows.
Robert Stephenson built this "tourism" locomotive in 1859 for the viceroy of Egypt.
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, with abundant smoke, and it was not rare that the passengers found their clothes and hair "ornamented" with oil patches, an inconvenience that continued even when the 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 it was soon abandoned. It is easy to imagine how satisfying was the arrival of electric lightning for both passengers and railway operators.
Models of lanterns used for lighting in American wagons.
For heating were initially provided hot-water foot warmers, which were replaced in the stations by payment of a small fee, and later with steam foot warmers. In Germany it was adopted the utilization of 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, and from there the line reached to Bombay by making use of maritime lines as well.
Sleeping car with drawing room, 1866.
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 the wagons destined to loads whose exhalations 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 the containers in such a way that allows to tie one to other, side to side. Other modern types are the refrigerator wagons and the tank cars.
A British postal car from the 19th century.
Freight car of the London and North Western Railway, company that operated between 1846 and 1922.
Interior of a large British postal car.
Burton freight car with capacity for up to 20 cows or 18 horses.
American van wagon destined to carry lugagge, freight or mail in passenger trains.
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 in valleys with relatively short lengths. Later, like for the normal roads, also the layouts for the railroads were a matter of study, and it was attempted to overcome the geographic factors by excavating tunnels and building bridges and viaducts. Before explaining how these difficulties were obviated, it would be convenient to remember in which 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, add firmness to the rails. In older railroads wooden sleepers were used, being the best those made from larch or oak, while more modern railroads use concrete sleepers; the closer they are to each other, the better the resistance they offer; above the sleepers are fixed the bearings that support the guides.Continue reading...