the rail machine

The train is an interesting machine. Huge iron cubes (eight to ten, usually) the size of a big room, are connected to form a long chain that moves with the help of giant engines. People travel inside these cubes that move on parallel-breadth iron tracks laid across vast areas. Such tracks form an extensive network that connects cities, countries and even continents except where separated by ocean.

Railway contributes to a major proportion of the world’s land-based transportation system; out of which, a huge portion is intercity railway network. Intercity railway is known by many names – metro, Mass Rail Transit, Subway, Cityrail, etc. It usually runs underneath the city in elaborately carved tunnels. These tunnels make heavy use of iron and steel in order to support the structure, that are often carved seven to eight and even eleven stories under the ground.

Underground railway stations are equally magnificent. They incorp orate sophisticated elevators, convenient stores, automatic vendors, and even railway museums. One of the recently renewed intercity railways, The Budapest Metro, has an underground system that can provide shelter for more than two hundred thousand people, including fresh air (with an air-filter), drinking water (3 liters) and washing water (27 liters) per person per day – in case of an attack or catastrophe in the Hungarian capital. Remarkable, indeed!

The Dubai Metro scheduled to begin operation in 2009 will use driverless Kinki-Sharyo trains – driven entirely using computer software, that stops at stations and picks up people before moving on to another station.

A quick look at the facts reveals some interesting information about the world’s railway systems:
  • The longest passenger line is the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Russia, with length of 9,297 km from Moscow to Vladivostok.
  • The biggest station is Nagoya Station in Japan, with floor area of 446,000 square meters.
  • The deepest railway station is Park Pobedy Metro Station in Russia. It is 90 meters below the surface.
  • The oldest metro is the London Underground, opened in 1863 AD.
  • The fastest train is the ‘flying’ magnetic levitation or maglev train in Japan with speed of 584 kph.

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