The Train

In: English and Literature

Submitted By carballo08
Words 1998
Pages 8
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…...

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