Before trains were created, people used to travel for months with the help of horses and ships. This is why trains are considered to be one of the most important reminders of the Golden Age of travel. That is why to pay homage to the most comfortable mode of transportation, and we are going to list down the most iconic and historical trains in history.
- The Trans-Siberian Express – This railway spans 6,000 miles across the sub-arctic terrain and across eight time zones. The Trans-Siberian Railway was known as the most expensive and longest railroad in the world when it was built in 1916. This railway shortens the travel from Moscow to Vladivostok from months to just eight days. A project this big required a lot of money to execute, which is why it led to Russia’s economic shortages as well as inadequate weaponry for the military during World War I. This railway is also iconic because the Communists used it to consolidate power during the civil war which followed the Russian Revolution.
- Panama Railway – When the Panama Railway was completed in 1855, it linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for the first time. The Panama Railway is a 50-mile railroad that made traveling across the Panamanian isthmus a lot easier for passengers who traveled by sea between the West and East Coasts of the United States. This train also became popular because it was used by tens and thousands of prospectors who were seeking riches from the California Gold Rush years before the transcontinental railroad was constructed in the United States. Aside from bringing in people from coast to coast, the Panama Railway also transported cargo that came from steamship companies as well as the United States mail. It became the most intensively used freight rail line back until the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.
- Liverpool and Manchester Railway – When the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened in September 1830, it marked the dawn of steam-powered rail travel. Before its construction, trains used to be horse-drawn, and it was typically used to haul freight like coal over short distances. This 31-mile railroad that links Manchester and Liverpool was the first to carry both cargo and passengers with the help of steam-powered locomotives that George Stephenson designed. During its first year of operation, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was able to carry about 500,000 passengers that resulted in generous dividends to investors. This railroad was also the one that started the development of England’s Industrial Revolution.
- Transcontinental Railroad – When the Transcontinental Railway was completed on May 10, 1869, the United States indeed became united. This railway was constructed for over seven years with the Union Pacific Railroad building west from Omaha, Nebraska, and the Central Pacific Railroad building east from Sacramento, California. The Transcontinental Railroad cut the travel time for the 3,000-mile cross-country journey from months to less than a week. This railroad significantly contributed to the fast westward expansion of the United States, which also brought up the rise of the Wild West as well as wars with Native American tribes that used to live on those lands. But, this train also made it economically feasible to transport resources of the West to the markets in the East.
- Tokaido Shinkansen – Japan took train travel to the next level when they constructed this high-speed rail line between Osaka and Tokyo in 1964. This train sliced the travel time between the two cities in half because it can reach a speed of up to 125 miles per hour. This train is considered to be the first-ever bullet train, and it became the symbol of Japan’s reconstruction as a post-war industrial power. During its first three years of operation, Tokaido Shinkansen was able to carry 100 million passengers and showed that high-speed rail could also become a commercial success. The Tokaido Shinkansen is one of the world’s fastest and glamorous train rides.
- Eurostar – Constructed in 1994, this rail under the English Channel linked Great Britain to the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age. Eurostar cost about $16 billion to build, and the 31-mile tunnel between England, Folkestone, France, and Coquelles allowed passengers to travel between Paris and London in just two-and-a-half hours. Also known as the “Chunnel,” the Eurostar is considered the longest undersea tunnel globally, and the American Society of Civil Engineers even hailed it as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.