The first railway
In 1823, George Stephenson began designing the world's first public passenger railway line joining the British towns
of Stockton-on-Tees and Darlington (equipped with a locomotive engine). It was put into
operation on 27 September 1825. George Stephenson, an important railway engineer,
was born in the mining village of Wylam, England, on 9 June 1781. His father worked in
the coal mines and his mother was the daughter of a dyer. George had to work hard at
home and in the fields from an early age. He learned to read and write at night school and
gained his engineering experience without any education. He soon married the servant
Fanny, who gave birth to their son Robert. When Stephenson was widowed, he had to
take care of a small son and a blind father who had been burned by steam.
In 1812 Stephenson was offered the post of chief engineer at the Killingworth coal mines. As an engineer, he improved steam engines and pumps in the mines and established
a 12-km-long mining track at the site. He also worked on the construction of a locomotive pump. In 1815, he obtained a patent for his first locomotive. Engineers refused to help
Stephenson with the locomotive, so he built it himself in a country forge.
In 1823, Stephenson began designing the world's first public passenger railway line joining the British towns of Stocktonon-Tees and Darlington. He put the line into operation on 27 September 1825. Until then, tracks were laid on rough
terrain; Stephenson began to build a superstructure and lay rails on sleepers, using malleable iron instead of cast iron
for the rails. A new, complex industry was born – railway engineering.
Stephenson was also involved in other major railways around the world. He died on 12 August 1848 and is buried
The steepest railway in the world
The Pilatusbahn (abbreviated PB) is a mountain cog railway in Switzerland, considered to be the steepest in the world, with a gradient of up to 48% (480 ‰).
The lower station is located at Lake Lucerne in the village of Alpnachstad, while
the upper station lies just below the top of Mount Pilatus at an altitude of 2,132
m above sea level. That is why the summit is a must-see for tourists. In the 19th
century, as tourism began to grow, the difficult terrain led to a search for a means of transport to make it accessible to a wider range of tourists, i.e. not only those who were able to climb the steep slopes of the mountain. The alternative
access to the summit at this time was by mule or by using two porters who carried one person on a seat.  The current connection to the top of Pilatus is possible by boat on Lake Lucerne, followed by the Zentralbahn (formerly Brünigbahn) and the Pilatusbahn railways. Already in the days when operation was by steam traction, the annual transport capacity reached 30,000 passengers (later
up to 55,000 passengers per year), and after electrification this capacity increased even more.
The engineer Eduard Locher submitted the project to the city council on 16 April 1885, along with applications for construction and an operation licence. Locher faced doubts over functionality and reliability, and therefore he modified the
project several times, but a test rig went up in just 400 days. The line was approved on 17 May 1889 and opened just a
few weeks later. It immediately became a tourist attraction (with 30,000 curious visitors in its first year) and has remained
so ever since. Logically, changes took place over time; steam coaches (a few original examples are on display at the Verkehrshaus transport museum in Lucerne) were replaced by motor coaches in 1937 and remain in use in upgraded configuration. The stations were modernised. The "little train" departs from Alpnachstad on the shores of Lake Alpnachersee
and heads through beautiful countryside to the top of Mount Pilatus (map) at a total distance of 4,618 m.
High-speed rail in Europe
High-speed rail came to Europe when the LGV Sud-Est line from Paris to Lyon opened in 1981 and the TGV commenced regular passenger services. Since then, France has continued to build an extensive network, with lines running in every direction from Paris. With its 2,700 km of high-speed lines, France's high-speed network is second in Europe only to Spain with 4,000 km (the most recent French extension was the Le Mans-Rennes section opened on 1
July 2017 and the 302-km-long Tours-Bordeaux section, which followed the
opening of the second part of the LGV Est line in a length of 106 km in July
The TGV network has gradually expanded to other cities and countries including Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK. Due to
the early introduction of high-speed rail and France's important location (between the Iberian Peninsula, the British Isles and Central Europe), most other
new high-speed rail lines in Europe were built to comply with the same speed, voltage and signalling standards. The most obvious exception is the highspeed lines in Germany, which are built to existing German train standards.
In addition, many high-speed services, including TGV and ICE, use existing rail lines, except for those designed for high-speed rail (vehicles). For this reason, and due to different national standards, trains crossing borders must have special features such as the ability to handle different voltages and different signalling systems. This means that not
all TGV trains are the same, the transit cross sections and signalling aspects are different.
Example of the track: Lyon-Turin, speed 300 km/h, length 72 km.
T+T T e c h n i k a a t r h 5/ 2 0 2 3