Trains: Still Relevant in the Computer Epoch

Trains and railways evolved from the 1550 German concept of wagon-ways which uses wooden rails. It is simply a wagon being pulled by horse. This early technology made the transportation of heavy stuffs faster and easier compared to the common wagon pulled by horses directly on the dirt roads.

By 1776, the horse-pulled-wagon went upgrading as the wooden rails was changed into iron. Its use became popular even to the entirety of Europe. The real change however that influenced the modern train and railway system was introduced by an Englishman named William Jessup in 1789 with the use of flanged wheels. This innovation is so vital because this made the wagon to be intact on the rails.

When the industrial era came, the engines became dominant and it replaces the horse from pulling the wagon. The very first steam-powered engine was introduced by a man named Samuel Homfrey around 1803. This is the breakthrough that changed the world by much.

Trains and railways were embraced by people and made it as the number one mode of transportation. During early eras wherein the primary mode transporting is by horses, the trains outclassed the system. The train has great advantages which made this mode of transportation so patronized.

Firstly, trains and railways are advantageous because it can carry a large number of passengers compared to the common mode of transportation. It can also carry heavy loads even for very long distances. This fact is still reality even up to these days. Trains are still being used by many nations such as India, Malaysia and Thailand. We can say that transportation via bus is comfortable but many people are saying that the train system is more comfortable compared to the others.

Thailand and Malaysia are interconnected by train and this mode of transportation brings so much attraction between the two countries. Many tourists are choosing the train system in crossing these two countries because they are very attractive. Well it’s not just because tourist can see the hidden side of the countries but this mode of transportation is cheaper by the way far compared to the other modes of transportation plus it is a very safe one. If you check the statistics comparing the different modes of transportation, it is evident that the railway system of transportation is one of the safest.

Well if you are thinking that the trains and the railway system is an old school mode of transportation then you should think twice because this technology evolved as time passed by. There are trains that are called bullet train for they can travel with high speeds. They can arrive to your destination and morever it can even be faster than by travelling by bus or car.

If you are a lover of nature, train will be your best friend because this mode of transportation does not use the coal type engine anymore. They are electrically powered and they emit no pollutant at all. Trains and railways are useful and they are important even in the computer epoch.

To take a look at the World’s Top 25 trains, click here. Students on Study Abroad programs find it convenient and cheap to travel by train. Affordable health protection for students while traveling away from home is available here.

World’s Top 25 Trains

Photo credit: guilanenachez from

Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE)
Region: Europe
Train Type: Luxury

The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE), with its restored, 1920s vintage cars, is the world’s most authentic luxury train. Made famous in the Agatha Christie story, the train still runs on the legendary route from Paris to Istanbul. Many other itineraries are also available. They include Istanbul to Venice, and many itineraries including Venice, Krakow, Dresden, Prague, Paris.

Special Offer: Enjoy two complimentary nights at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice when you book the April 4, 2012 departure from Venice to London or Venice to Paris.  This offer includes transfers from the hotel to the rail station and a champagne welcome. Hotel stay must be taken directly before your journey. Journey must be booked before March 31, 2012.

Rovos Rail Pride of Africa
Region: Africa
Train Type: Luxury

Rovos Rail’s Pride of Africa offers an old-world elegance and luxury to a degree that was never equaled in the 1920s. Many seasoned IRT Society travelers consider it their favorite rail experience. Celebrated not only for its fabulous equipment, the train is rightfully proud of its stellar dining and on-board service. In short, the entire experience is an exciting luxury rail adventure.

Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express
Region: Europe
Train Type: Luxury

No question about it: there is no better way to see Siberia. The all-ensuite Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express was launched in 2007 to much fanfare in Moscow. The UK operators of this train have made a huge push to up the ante on with a new Imperial Suite, as well as Gold and Silver Class accommodations, all with en-suite bathroom. The train also has two dining cars and a lounge car. It plies the famous Trans-Siberian route between Moscow and Vladivostok, as well as special tours of the Silk Road, Russia’s Arctic and the Crimea.

New for 2012: One Imperial Suite available on all 2012 Golden Eagle departures. These new compartments are the most spacious—120 square feet—on the train and feature a fixed king-sized bed, a dedicated dressing table and lounge area. Perhaps best of all is the upgraded service and the improved food and beverage service throughout the train.

Latest News: Click here for owner Owen Hardy’s blog on what’s new for 2012 on the Golden Eagle Trans-Siberian Express.

Maharajas’ Express
Region: Asia
Train Type: Luxury

The Maharajas’ Express was custom-built to be the most luxurious train in India––and perhaps the world––offering state-of-the-art facilities and amenities. All cabins have large windows, LCD televisions, wi-fi access, individual temperature control and full en-suite bathroom. There is one Presidential Suite which comprises a full train car—the largest suite available on any train in the world. The two elegantly decorated dining cars serve a choice of multi-course Indian and continental cuisine. Two lounge cars provide cool drinks and comfortable seating. The train is 23 cars long, taking a maximum of 84 passengers, with a staff of 56. Just announced: The Maharajas’ Express is the newest in The Society of IRT’s World’s Top 25 Trains list!

For more information, please visit:

Indian Railways

Indian Railways, abbreviated as IR, is a departmental undertaking of Government of India, which owns and operates most of India’s rail transport. It is overseen by the Ministry of Railways of the Government of India.

Indian Railways has 114,500 kilometres (71,147 mi).[3] of total track over a route of 65,000 kilometres (40,389 mi) and 7,500 stations. It has the world’s fourth largest railway network after those of the United States, Russia and China. The railways carry over 30 million passengers and 2.8 million tons of freight daily. It is the world’s second largest commercial or utility employer, by number of employees, with more than 1.36 million employees As for rolling stock, IR owns over 240,000 (freight) wagons, 60,000 coaches and 9,000 locomotives.

Railways were first introduced to India in 1853. By 1947, the year of India’s independence, there were forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, the Indian Railways, becoming one of the largest networks in the world. IR operates both long distance and suburban rail systems on a multi-gauge network of broad, metre and narrow gauges. It also owns locomotive and coach production facilities.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

International Railway Associations

Southern Africa Railways Association

Argentina Railways Institute (Fiaf)

Australasian Railway Association Inc
Australian Railway Industry Corporation (ARIC)
Railway Technical Society of Australia (RTSA)

National Association of Railway Transport (ANTF)

Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC)
Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (Britain)
Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE)
PTEG (Representing seven PTEs)
Rail Freight Group
Railway Industry Association (RIA)

Association of Regional Railways of Canada (ARRC)
Canadian Urban Transit Association
Railway Association of Canada

China Acadamy of Railway Sciences (Cars)

Association of the European Railway Industry (Unife)
Community of European Railway & Infrastructure Companies (CER)
European Association for Railway Interoperability (AEIF)
European Intermodal Association (EIA)
European Federation of Railway Trackworks Contractors (EFRTC)
European Rail Freight Association (ERAF)
European Rail Freight Customers Platform (ERFCP)
European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM)
European Railway Research Advisory Council (ERRAC)
European Railway Wheels Association (ERWA)
European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS)
Foundation for Railway Infrastructure Development
International Union of Combined Road-Rail Transport Companies (UIRR)
International Union of Private Wagons (UIP)
Nordic Association of Railway Professionals (NJS)
Union of European Railway Engineer Associations (UEEIV)

Railway Industry Association (FIF)
Railway Engineers & Executives Association (AFFI)
GART (Association of Transport Authorities)
Nord-Pas de Calais Railway Industry Association (AIF)

VDEI (German Association of Railway Engineers)
VDV (Association of Transport Operators)

Arab Union of Railways
International Air Rail Organisation (IARO)
International Heavy Haul Association (IHHA)
International Organisation of Overhead Catenary Engineers (IOOCE)
International Transport Forum
International Union of Public Transport (UITP)
International Union of Railways (UIC)
Latin American Association of Underground Networks & Subways (ALAMYS)
Organisation for Railway Collaboration (OSShD/OSJD)

Iranian Association of Rail Transport Engineering

Italian Association of Railway Electrical Industries (ASSIFE)
Italian Railway Certification and Safety Organisation (Cesifer)

Association of Japanese Private Railways
High Speed Surface Transport
Japan Overseas Rolling Stock Association (Jorsa)

Korea Rolling Stock Industries Association (Korsia)
Middle East
UIC Middle East

Railforum Netherlands

North America
Intermodal Association of North America (IANA)

South Africa
Railroad Association of South Africa

South America
Association of Latin American Metros (Alamys)
Latin American Railway Association

Spanish Association of Railway Equipment Manufacturers and Exporters (Mafex)

Swedish Rail Industry Group (Swerig)

Swiss Union of Public Transport
Swissrail Export Association

American Association of Private Car Owners
American Public Transit Association (APTA)
American Railway Engineering & Maintenance of Way Association
American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
Association of American Railroads
California High Speed Rail Authority
Florida High Speed Rail
Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association
Railway Systems Suppliers I
US High Speed Rail Association

For more information, please visit:

Why support rail use?

There are many reasons why railways should be at the centre of  transport for the 21st century:

  • Safety
  •  Environment
  •  Speed
  •  Social inclusion & public support
  •  Cost-effectiveness: rail investment works

Despite recent accidents, rail continues to be the safest form of land transit. Travelling by train is 15 times safer than going by car and five times safer than going by bus or coach. You are far more likely to involved in an accident whilst walking, cycling or driving to the station than when you are on the train. Sixteen times more person-miles are travelled by car than by train yet there are 100 times more accidents on our roads than on our railways. In terms of time spent on the journey, train travel is even safer than air travel.

Rail travel is between 2 and 3 times more energy efficient than going by car, and rail freight is 9 times more efficient than road transport.

This means that rail causes less air pollution. This is important because up to 24,000 vulnerable people are estimated to die prematurely because of exposure to air pollution, much of which is due to road traffic. Vehicles produce 75% of particulate and nitrogen oxide pollutants.

Rail carries 7% of traffic but only emits 0.2% of carbon monoxide generated by transport, only 2% of nitrous oxides, 1% of volatile organic compounds, and 2.5% of sulphur dioxide emissions. Sulphur dioxide can cause acid rain which damages trees and buildings and harms aquatic wildlife.

High speed inter-city services are much faster than going by car on the motorway.

During a press run from Aix-en-Provence to Valence on the new ‘Mediterranee’ line to Marseilles, a TGV (high speed French train) reached a speed of 354.6 km/hr (221 mph). This is a world record for a passenger train. (Railway Magazine, March 2001.)

The West Coast main Line (running from London Euston to Glasgow) will be able to run trains at 125mph by 2002 and 140mph by 2005. This upgrade will cost £4bn and will enable Virgin Trains, the main inter-city operator on the route, to introduce their new ‘Pendolino’ tilting trains.

Social inclusion & public support
Trains in rural areas are a lifeline to those who do not have a car. The government’s rural white paper ‘Our countryside: the future – a fair deal for rural England’, 2001, notes the benefits of rail access to rural communities by reducing traffic on local roads, making businesses more competitive, and in many cases offering a tourist attraction.

Currently 30% of households – some 13 million people – do not own a car. Women are often second in the pecking order for use of a shared car and more than 40% of women don’t have a driving licence. The proportion of the population reliant on public transport is set to go up as the UK population ages.

Cost-effectiveness: rail investment works
At 1996 prices the cost of a new motorway is about £14 a mile, and a dual carriageway £6m a mile. The cost of upgrading and electrifying the East Coast Main Line was £1m a mile.

Zurich’s high quality public transport network has increased public transport’s share of commuter journeys to an amazing 76%, and car traffic has stopped growing.


Amazon Books on Railways


Dawn of the Diesels: v. 1 (The nostalgia collection)
1.  Dawn of the Diesels: v. 1 (The nostalgia collection) by John Spencer Gilks
The list author says:
“I love diesel locomotives and DMU’s and this is a fascinating  look at their history.”
Railway Liveries: Privatisation, 1995-2000
2.  Railway Liveries: Privatisation, 1995-2000 by C.P. Boocock
The list author says:
“a rewview of the coats of many colours that have appeared on our railways recently.”
Class 50s on the Route from Waterloo to Exeter (Memorable Classes/Routes)
4.  Class 50s on the Route from Waterloo to Exeter (Memorable Classes/Routes) by Roger Siviter
The list author says:
“Another look at class 50’s, or ‘Hoovers’ as they are affectionately known.”
Platform Souls: The Train Spotter as Twentieth-century Hero
5.  Platform Souls: The Train Spotter as Twentieth-century Hero by Nicholas Whittaker
The list author says:
“I enjoyed this, confessions of an ex-trainspotter. It is well written and amusing.”
Tracks to Disaster
6.  Tracks to Disaster by Adrian Vaughan
The list author says:
“A look at railway disasters and their causes. Some tragic tales indeed.”

For more information, please visit: Amazon