From the evolution of the track to the birth of the train
No matter which field, it is not easy to figure out its complete context. Because you can’t separate completely independent individuals from history, they are interdependent, inherent and natural. As far as human history is concerned, the invention of the train was a ground-breaking event, and then the evolution of steam locomotives, diesel locomotives, electric locomotives, and high-speed EMUs continued with each other. Keep up with the ever-changing times one after another.
Looking back, the development of railways has a history of only two hundred years. Only by interpreting history, rather than controlling history, and tracing the past along its journey, can we understand the context of railway development. Today, high-speed rail has become an important means of transportation in modern society. If you want to trace the development of high-speed rail, you must go back to another, more distant era to see other things. Because it is there that the initial traces of the development of high-speed rail can be found.
30,000 pounds for two wooden tracks
Many people think that after stone tracks, the historical development direction of track roads is railway tracks. However, this is not the case. In the middle period of history, wooden tracks appeared. The plasticity of wood itself becomes an indispensable existence in the transition process from stone track to iron track, because iron can be easily combined with wood, but not easily with stone.
The birth of new things is always accompanied by twists and turns and controversies. In the first half of the 17th century, the British Beaumont fixed two pieces of wood on the sleepers in the Newcastle coal mine at that time, and creatively built a wooden track for the carriage of coal. This historic road cost him £30,000. However, due to unsuccessful business operations, this wooden track was later abandoned by people, and Beaumont became the laughing stock of people after dinner.
The fruits of innovation are sometimes late, it just takes a little time. Beaumont’s innovations in wooden tracks successfully inspired other British coal mine owners. In the following decades, large tracts of wooden rails gradually appeared in coal mines all over the UK. They were densely distributed like spider webs among the mines in the northeastern part of the UK, and were used to quickly transfer coal between mines and nearby rivers. . Although there are coals falling from the car everywhere beside these wooden tracks, the wooden tracks still become a transportation tool for British coal mines to gather money.
Before being eliminated, this kind of wooden track has been improved many times. For example, because the wood is very easy to damage, in order not to touch the sleeper to replace the wooden track, we tried to put two more wooden rails on the original wooden track. Change, simple and easy to operate. Later, in order to reduce the number of replacements of the wooden rails, people wrapped a layer of iron on the surface of the wooden rails to increase their service life. The combination of wood and iron collides with a perfect spark, and the development of the rails also sparks a spark, waiting to start a prairie fire.
It is necessary to mention that George Stephenson, known as the “father of trains”, was born in the era of wooden tracks everywhere in England. “An important reason.
The most persistent person
American writer Ernest Hemingway once said: “If you want to train a writer, then give him a miserable childhood.” Indeed, people are more recognized for those who came from a humble background, poor family, and worked hard all the way to success, because This is consistent with the underlying human identification with the inherent concept of “more pay for more work”.
According to this theory, George Stephenson is the kind of successful person who is admired.
First of all, he had an unfortunate childhood. In 1781, Stephenson was born in a small family in Northumberland, England. All the income of the family came from his father who was a coal miner. In the era when Britain was full of mines, the status and income of miners were very low. Poverty never seemed to be far from the small family, and Stephenson was never educated and was illiterate until the age of 18.
Secondly, he is an inspirational young man. From the age of 14, he used his own hands to solve the problems of the poor family – he went to the mine to be a steam locomotive fireman’s assistant. Stephenson’s relationship with the steam engine also originated from this time. Maybe it was the steam engine itself that attracted him, or maybe it was the economic pressure that forced the kid to move on. He began to study the structure of the steam engine and learn how to repair it. This brought him another problem. He didn’t know the English markings on all the parts, let alone the related books. So, he began to go to night school to read and learn various mechanical books by himself. As a result, he became the first craftsman-born engineer in the mine.
After becoming an engineer, the young Stephenson was not satisfied. Through long-term research on steam engines, he came up with a bold idea, that is, to improve Watt’s improved steam engine again, use it for transportation, and create a steam locomotive that can be used to transport coal.
Stephenson immediately put this idea into action. In 1814, his first steam locomotive was born, named “Leather Boots”, which means that it is as durable as the leather boots on his feet and can go everywhere. But this locomotive full of his hopes was not as good as he thought. The “Leather Boot” pulled 30 tons of coal and only ran at a speed of 6.4km/h, which was not competitive with the horse-drawn carts at that time.
Although the “Leather Boot” did not complete its mission, Stephenson was not discouraged, and turned around and devoted himself to the research and development of the next locomotive. In 1823, he co-founded a railway locomotive manufacturing company in Newcastle. Although the historical materials do not record the status of the locomotives manufactured by Stephenson during this period, judging from the establishment of the company, his second locomotive development should have made considerable progress at that time. Sure enough, two years after the establishment of the company, his other locomotive “Sport” was born.
Although the “Sport” locomotive is technically the same as the “Leather Boot” locomotive, its performance has been improved several times. After presiding over the construction of the Stockton Road-Darlington Railway, Stephenson personally drove the “Sport”, pulled 450 guests, and ran an exhilarating speed of 24km/h. Due to the need to burn fuel during the journey, the train was full of flames and smoke along the way. After entering China, people called this kind of car “train”, and this name has been used until today.
The birth of the “Sport” locomotive means that after the continuous practice of the two explorers, the steam locomotive has finally entered the ranks of commercial operation, and a great era has kicked off.
The success of the “Sports” also made Stephenson realize that his actions were likely to bring changes to the whole world, so he continued to study the speed of steam locomotives. This time, he was joined by his son Robert.
On October 6, 1829, the locomotive “Rocket” jointly developed by Stephenson and Robert, went all the way on the Liverpool-Manchester Railway, with a maximum speed of 38.4km/h, which once again refreshed people’s recognition of this new species of train. Know.
In September 1830, George and his son developed the “Northumberlander” and continued to break the record, setting a top speed of 57.6km/h. The origin of this record is quite dramatic, just because during the test run, the locomotive accidentally broke the leg of the loyal supporter of the railway, William Huskison, a British MP. Stephenson drove the locomotive to save people. The hospital, this is the locomotive record that broke the era. But William Huskisson did not save his life in the end, and died that night, becoming the first passenger who died of an accident in the history of the railway.
At this time, it was nearing the end of the first industrial revolution, and the steam engine changed that era. Although he was not the first inventor of the steam train, Stephenson’s contribution in human history is obvious to all, so people call him “the father of trains”. People’s enthusiastic evaluation of Stephenson also proves from the side that the train is another representative great invention after the steam engine in the first industrial revolution.