The first railway was used in the United States in 1826.
Steam locomotives are fueled by wood or coal placed into a firebox. The heat from the firebox boils water to make steam, which powers the train with pressure that moves the pistons back and forth. As the pistons move, the wheels on the train move.
The cowcatcher is located at the front of the train, which was designed to clear animals from the tracks that may have wandered into the path of the train.
Freight trains haul anything from cars to clothing. They do not carry passengers.
Boxcars get their name from their shape and the fact that it is closed at the top like a box. They carry all kinds of freight that needs to be protected from the weather while in route.
A caboose used to be where the train crew lived, and also where the conductor's office was located.
The cupola was a roof-level lookout that the conductor would use to communicate with the crew at the front of the train.
Locomotives today are powered by either diesel or electric.
Diesel locomotives are actually diesel-electric because the diesel engines turn a shaft that drives a generator, which makes electricity that powers the wheels that make the train move.
The longest railroad tracks without curves in the United States is located in North Carolina between Hamlet and Wilmington. It is 78 miles long.
The steepest standard gauge railway grade in the United States is located in Saluda, North Carolina. It opened in 1878 and is 3 miles long.
The heaviest train on record weighs more than 27,000 elephants. Locomotives weight approximately 200 tons. Even in an emergency, due to its weight, it can take a train over one mile to come to a complete stop.
The electrical power generated by today's locomotive puts out enough electricity to power your neighborhood.
The transportation efficiency of trains is important, moving a ton of freight 220 miles on one gallon of fuel.