They cross thousands of miles across the countryside all over the world, transporting goods and passengers to places far flung, and bringing back the same to their point of origin. Two gleaming lines of silver lay their path, as they move through cities and forests, mountains and plains to bring everything to those who need it, whether it’s cargo or people. Of course, we’re talking about trains, those powerful machines that inspired so much of history and have done amazing things for economies and industry all over the world. Train Day commemorates these wonderful machines and the role they play in our lives.
The history of Train Day is the history of trains, and that history goes back farther than you might suspect. Railroads were actually a progression from wagonways, which were essentially railroads powered by horse, and have a history going back over 2000 years. The reason wagonways (and of course railways) came into existence was one of simple practicality, you could transport larger loads over a greater distance with prepared paths!
The first ‘ways’ weren’t even created with metal rails, they were instead created with wooden rails, and in the distance path even cut-stone tracks. By being carefully prepared you could increase the amount a single horse could haul from one ton to nearly 13 tons! That’s a huge improvement in cargo capacity and a huge boon to those who have to move a lot of it a goodly distance. Of course, with wooden rails they had to be often replaced and so it became common practice to cover them with a thin metal plate to help the wood last.
The industrial revolution changed all that, and metal rails are here to stay! And then in 2008 Amtrak established Train Day to help celebrate the history of the locomotive.
How to Celebrate Train Day
The best way to celebrate train day is to go out and take a ride on a train! It doesn’t matter where it’s going, riding a train can be a fantastic and relaxing experience. Some towns have steam trains that are part of their history and still in operation, and dinner trains are always a nice experience. Or, if you’re planning on taking a trip, rather than taking a car or plane, take a train for a relaxing ride across the country. Train Day is a great chance to go out and see the world and experience these amazing vehicles.