“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
The oldest wagonway, the predecessor of the railway, found is the Diolkos wagonway in Greece and dates back to approximately 600 BC. Men and animals pulled wheeled wagons that ran in grooves in limestone. The grooves prevented the vehicles from leaving the planned route. The Ancient Romans also used wagonways, but they fell in disuse with the collapse of the Roman Empire.
During the Renaissance, wagonways powered by horses came back into the picture. A revolution was the invention by Thomas Savery of the first stationary steam engine in 1698. His invention was simply and low powered, so it took until 1763 when James Watt used Savery´s and Thomas Newcomen´s designs and created a crankshaft that could transform power of steam into circular motion. This invention made it possible to use steam engines to power cars, trains and boats. But it was Richard Trevithick built the first full-scale working railway steam locomotive in the United Kingdom in 1804. On 21 February of that year the world’s first railway journey took place when Trevithick’s unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Penydarren ironworks in South Wales.
The first commercially successful steam locomotive was Matthew Murray’s rack locomotive Salamanca, a twin cylinder one, built for the narrow gauge Middleton Railway in 1812. It was the first rack railway. Then in 1813 The Puffing Billy built by Christopher Blackett and William Hedley for the Wylam Colliery Railway was the first successful locomotive running by adhesion only.
In 1814 George Stephenson built the Blücher, one of the first successful flanged-wheel adhesion locomotives. Stephenson played a crucial role in the development and widespread adoption of the steam locomotive. In 1825 he built the Locomotion for the Stockton and Darlington Railway in the north east of England, which was the first public steam railway in the world. After this, Stephenson established his own company as the leading builder of steam locomotives used on railways in the United Kingdom, United States and much of Europe.
English train, Dutch trein Spanish tren and Italian treno come from Old French train, tracks/path/trail/act of dragging, from trainer, to pull/drag/draw, from Vulgar Latin *traginare, from *tragere, to pull, from tractus, past participle of Latin trahere, to pull/draw.
Dutch trein, Spanish tren and Italian treno have the same roots.
Train in other languages:
Dutch: de trein
Spanish: el tren
Italian: il treno