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Wagonways and tramways

Earliest traces
The earliest evidence of a wagonway, a predecessor of the railway, found so far was the 6 to 8.5 km long Diolkos wagonway, which transported boats across the Isthmus of Corinth in Greece since around 600 BC.[1][2][3][4][5] Wheeled vehicles pulled by men and animals ran in grooves inlimestone, which provided the track element, preventing the wagons from leaving the intended route. The Diolkos was in use for over 650 years, until at least the 1st century AD.[5] The first horse-drawn wagonways also appeared in ancient Greece, with others to be found on Malta and various parts of the Roman Empire, using cut-stone tracks.

Railways began reappearing in Europe after the Dark Ages. The earliest known record of a railway in Europe from this period is a stained-glass window in the Minster of Freiburg im Breisgau dating from around 1350.[6]

In 1515, Cardinal Matthäus Lang wrote a description of the Reisszug, a funicular railway at the Hohensalzburg Castle in Austria. The line originally used wooden rails and a hemp haulage rope, and was operated by human or animal power, through a treadwheel. The line still exists, albeit in updated form, and is probably the oldest railway still to operate.[7][8]

Early wagonways

Minecart shown in De Re Metallica (1556). The guide pin fits in a groove between two wooden planks.
Wagonways (or 'tramways') are thought to have developed in Germany in the 1550s to facilitate the transport of ore tubs to and from mines, utilising primitive wooden rails. Such an operation was illustrated in 1556 by Georgius Agricola (Image right).[9] These used "Hund" carts with unflanged wheels running on wooden planks and a vertical pin on the truck fitting into the gap between the planks, to keep it going the right way.[10]Such a transport system was used by German miners at Caldbeck, Cumbria, perhaps from the 1560s.[11] The first true railway is now suggested to have been a funicular railway made at Broseley in Shropshire at some time before 1605. This carried coal for James Clifford from his mines down to the river Severn to be loaded on to barges and carried to riverside towns.[12] Though the first documentary record of this is later, its construction probably preceded the Wollaton Wagonway, completed in 1604, hitherto regarded as the earliest British installation. This ran from Strelley toWollaton near Nottingham. Another early wagonway is noted onwards. Huntingdon Beaumont (who was concerned with mining at Strelley) also laid down broad wooden rails near Newcastle upon Tyne, on which a single horse could haul fifty or sixty bushels (130–150 kg) of coal.[13]

By the 18th century, such wagonways and tramways existed in a number of areas. Ralph Allen, for example, constructed a tramway to transport stone from a local quarry to supply the needs of the builders of the Georgian terraces of Bath. The Battle of Prestonpans, in the Jacobite Rebellion, was fought astride a wagonway.[14] This type of transport spread rapidly through the whole Tyneside coal-field, and the greatest number of lines were to be found in the coalfield near Newcastle upon Tyne. Their function in most cases was to facilitate the transport of coal in chaldron wagons from the coalpits to a staithe (a wooden pier) on the river bank, whence coal could be shipped to London by collier brigs. The wagonways were engineered so that trains of coal wagons could descend to the staithe by gravity, being braked by a brakesman who would "sprag" the wheels by jamming them. Wagonways on less steep gradients could be retarded by allowing the wheels to bind on curves. As the work became more wearing on the horses, a vehicle known as a dandy wagon was introduced, in which the horse could rest on downhill stretches.

Because a stiff wheel rolling on a rigid rail requires less energy per ton-mile moved than road transport (with a highly compliant wheel on an uneven surface), railroads are highly suitable for the movement of dense, bulk goods such as coal and other minerals. This was incentive to focus a great deal of inventiveness upon the possible configurations and shapes of wheels and rails. In the late 1760s, the Coalbrookdale Company began to fix plates of cast iron to the upper surface of the wooden rails. These (and earlier railways) had flanged wheels as on modern railways, but another system was introduced, in which unflanged wheels ran on L-shaped metal plates – these became known as plateways. John Curr, a Sheffield colliery manager, invented this flanged rail, though the exact date of this is disputed. The plate rail was taken up by Benjamin Outram for wagonways serving his canals, manufacturing them at his Butterley ironworks. Meanwhile William Jessop, a civil engineer, had used a form of edge rail successfully for an extension to the Charnwood Forest Canal at Nanpantan, Loughborough, Leicestershire in 1789. Jessop became a partner in the Butterley Company in 1790. The flanged wheel eventually proved its superiority due to its performance on curves, and the composite iron/wood rail was replaced by all metal rail, with its vastly superior stiffness, durability, and safety.

The introduction of the Bessemer process for making cheap steel led to the era of great expansion of railways that began in the late 1860s. Steel rails lasted several times longer than iron.[15][16][17]

Steam power introduced
James Watt, a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer, was responsible for improvements to the steam engine of Thomas Newcomen, hitherto used to pump water out of mines. Watt developed a reciprocating engine, capable of powering a wheel. Although the Watt engine powered cotton mills and a variety of machinery, it was a large stationary engine. It could not be otherwise; the state of boiler technology necessitated the use of low pressure steam acting upon a vacuum in the cylinder, and this mode of operation needed a separate condenser and an air pump. Nevertheless, as the construction of boilers improved, he investigated the use of high pressure steam acting directly upon a piston. This raised the possibility of a smaller engine, that might be used to power a vehicle, and he actually patented a design for a steam locomotive in 1784. His employee William Murdoch produced a working model of a self propelled steam carriage in that year.[18]

A replica of Trevithick's engine at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea
The first working model of a steam rail locomotive was designed and constructed by John Fitch in the United States in 1794.[19] The first full scale working railway steam locomotive was built in the United Kingdom in 1804 by Richard Trevithick, an English engineer born in Cornwall. (The story goes that it was constructed to satisfy a bet by Samuel Homfray, the local iron master.) This used high pressure steam to drive the engine by one power stroke. (The transmission system employed a large fly-wheel to even out the action of the piston rod.) On 21 February 1804 the world's first railway journey took place as Trevithick's unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Penydarren ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales.[20][21] Trevithick later demonstrated a locomotive operating upon a piece of circular rail track in Bloomsbury, London, the "Catch-Me-Who-Can", but never got beyond the experimental stage with railway locomotives, not least because his engines were too heavy for the cast-iron plateway track then in use. Despite his inventive talents, Richard Trevithick died in poverty, with his achievement being largely unrecognized.[22]

The impact of the Napoleonic Wars resulted in (amongst other things) a dramatic rise in the price of fodder. This was the imperative that made thelocomotive an economic proposition, if it could be perfected.

The first commercially successful steam locomotive was Matthew Murray's rack locomotive Salamanca built for the narrow gauge Middleton Railway in 1812. This twin cylinder locomotive was not heavy enough to break the edge-rails track, and solved the problem of adhesion by a cog-wheel utilising teeth cast on the side of one of the rails. It was the first rack railway.

This was followed in 1813 by the Puffing Billy built by Christopher Blackett and William Hedley for the Wylam Colliery Railway, the first successful locomotive running by adhesion only. This was accomplished by the distribution of weight by a number of wheels. Puffing Billy is now on display in the Science Museum in London, the oldest locomotive in existence.[23]

In 1814 George Stephenson, inspired by the early locomotives of Trevithick, Murray and Hedley, persuaded the manager of the Killingworth colliery where he worked to allow him to build a steam-powered machine. He built the Blücher, one of the first successful flanged-wheel adhesion locomotives. Stephenson played a pivotal role in the development and widespread adoption of the steam locomotive. His designs considerably improved on the work of the earlier pioneers. In 1825 he built the Locomotion for the Stockton and Darlington Railway in the north east of England, which was the first public steam railway in the world. Such success led to Stephenson establishing his company as the pre-eminent builder of steam locomotives used on railways in the United Kingdom, United States and much of Europe.

Water transportation is the intentional movement of water over large distances.

Ship transport is watercraft carrying people (passengers) or goods (cargo). Sea transport has been the largest carrier of freight throughout recorded history. Although the importance of sea travel for passengers has decreased due to aviation, it is effective for short trips and pleasure cruises. Transport by water is cheaper than transport by air.

The term watercraft covers a range of different vehicles including ships, boats, hovercraft and submarines, and differs from a flotation device such as a log raft.

Ferries are a form of transport, usually a boat or ship, but also other forms, carrying (or ferrying) passengers and sometimes their vehicles. Ferries are also used to transport freight (in lorries and sometimes unpowered freight containers) and even railroad cars. Most ferries operate on regular, frequent, return services. A foot-passenger ferry with many stops, such as in Venice, is sometimes called a waterbus or water taxi. Ferries form a part of the public transport systems of many waterside cities and islands, allowing direct transit between points at a capital cost much lower than bridgesor tunnels. Many of the ferries operating in Northern European waters are ro/ro ships. See the Herald of Free Enterprise and M/S Estonia disasters.

Cruise ships are passenger ships used for pleasure voyages, where the voyage itself and the ship's amenities are considered an essential part of the experience. Cruising has become a major part of the tourism industry, with millions of passengers each year as of 2006. The industry's rapid growth has seen nine or more newly built ships catering to a North American clientele added every year since 2001, as well as others servicing Europeanclientele. Smaller markets such as the Asia-Pacific region are generally serviced by older tonnage displaced by new ships introduced into the high growth areas. On the Baltic sea this market is served by cruiseferries.

Roll-on/roll-off ships, such as the Chi-Cheemaun, are cargo ships designed to carry wheeled cargo such as automobiles, trailers or railway carriages. RORO (or ro/ro) vessels have built-in ramps which allow the cargo to be efficiently "rolled on" and "rolled off" the vessel when in port. While smaller ferries that operate across rivers and other short distances still often have built-in ramps, the term RORO is generally reserved for larger ocean-going vessels.

Tankers are cargo ships for the transport of fluids, such as crude oil, petroleum products, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas andchemicals, also vegetable oils, wine and other food - the tanker sector comprises one third of the world tonnage.…...

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