History of the railway: What do you know about trains?

By: Annette
Image: wiki commons

About This Quiz

Trains are romantic and their history is even more interesting. Whether you like big trains, miniature trains, mountain trains or beach trains, there is so much to know. If you consider yourself a locomotive-buff, then this quiz is for you.

Where was the very first railroad built?

The first passenter railroad was built in Britain in 1807, and one of the first steam locomotives, Rocket, was built in 1829.

What did the first passenger cars look like in the United States?

The first passenger cars looked like stagecoaches. Soon passenger coaches were designed, with seats on each side and an aisle down the middle.

When did the first transcontinental railroad open in the United States?

The first transcontinental railroad opened in the United States in 1869. That made it a whole lot easier to head out west!

What were U.S. locomotives called in the early days?

They were called 4-4-0's because they had four bogie wheels and four driving wheels. But more about that later. . .

What's the metal grate on the front of a train called?

The cowcatcher is the grill at the front of the locomotive, and god forbid it actually catches a cow.

What is the name of the coal car on a locomotive train?

The tender is the car that contains the fuel, which could be wood, coal, oil or water.

What was the name of the fastest steam locomotive in the world?

The Mallard was the fastest steam locomotive in the world, reaching up to 126 mph. Go steam!

What is the historic locomotive still running today between London and Edinburgh?

The Flying Scotsman is a historic locomotive, still making the journey today between London and Edinburgh. It is one of the world's most beloved locomotives.

Although coal and steam used to power many locomotives, today's trains are powered by what?

Today, manhy trains burn on cleaner diesel-electric systems. Coal-burning trains created more mess and pollution.

How long does it take to make the journey on the Trans-Siberian express from Moscow to Vladivostok?

It takes seven days to make the journey, making this the longest rail trip in the world. Trains depart every other day.

How long is the ride in the Channel Tunnel from Britain to France?

The Channel Tunnel, or Chunnel, is a remarkable underground tunnel that links Britain to France through a rail system. The journey only takes about 35 minutes.

What's the name of France's high-speed​ electric train?

The Train a Grande Vitesse, or TGV, is France's high-speed train. It's futuristic-looking, but it began in the 1970's.

How fast can the bullet trains in Japan go?

190 mph is pretty impressive, but we're hoping Japan will invent a train that goes 300 mph. That would be cool.

What is the name of the train of the future,​ which has no wheels?

The Maglev is a levitating train that is named for "magnetic levitation." This train of the future has no wheels and looks like something out of a science fiction movie!

What is the purpose of tilting trains in Sweden?

Sweden's famous tilting train, X2000, has a tilting motion in order to safely maintain its speed around curves and twists.

Where is the world's second highest railroad?

In Peru, the Ferrovías Central Railway is the world's second highest railroad. It was the highest, before the Qinghai–Tibet Railway opened in 2006.

What's the name of the metal frame on top of an electric locomotive that picks up electricity from cables?

The pantograph picks up electricity from the cables. It sounds like the name of ancient Egyptian symbols or something.

What is the Wuppertal monorail of Germany a great example of?

The magnificent Wuppertal monorail of Germany is a hanging train that travels majestically above the ground. That's one way to avoid ice and snow.

When did the first monorail begin operation?

The first monorail had its grand opening in Hertfordshire, England, in 1825, with a single horse-powered engine. No, Disney did not invent the monorail.

How do snow trains clear snow?

Snow trains are designed with enormous snow blowers at the front, thus clearing show as they go along. A blizzard is no match for a snow train.

What is the name of the guy who shovels coal into the firebox of a locomotive?

The fireman, not to be confused with the guy that puts out fires, is the one shoveling coal for power. His name could be Frank, we suppose.

What is the technical definition of a locomotive?

This is the powered train vehicle that moves the rest of the train. It's often where the captain sits, perhaps with a fancy engineer hat atop his head.

What is the third rail?

For electric trains, the third rail is the one that supplies electricity. It's not awkward to be the third rail.

What are the driving wheels?

The driving wheels are literally the wheels that move the car. They are attached to the power supply.

What is a device that joins cars to an engine and to other cars?

The couplings joins the cars to each other and to the engine. They must be incredibly strong.

What are bogie wheels used for?

The bogie wheels come in a set of four and they help the train to turn on a curved track.

What was the old term for coal on early steam locomotives?

Coal was also known as coke. Could that have something to do with the name of Coca-Cola? Talk amongst yourselves.

What is the most common model train scale?

HO is the most popular model train scale. HO is about half the size of O. HO trains are built at 1/87 of a train's actual size.

On a steam engine train, what is the name of the driver's cab platform?

Yes, it's called a footplate, and it's where the engineer would hang out with the fireman and footplate the heck outta that old locomotive!

What was the name​ of the biggest steam locomotive in history?

The Big Boy ran on the Union Pacific Railroad, and there were actually 25 of them! Why not call them Big Boys?

If you needed to head west to pan for gold, which locomotive would you take?

Locomotive 119 was what took folks out west, and it ran on the Union Pacific Railroad.

What was the name of the famous wood-burning locomotive that ran on the Central Pacific Railroad?

Jupiter was a 4-4-0 steam locomotive built in 1868. It's famous for attending the Golden Spike Ceremony, and we ALL know about that.

What's the name of the oldest surviving steam locomotive?

Puffing Billy is the oldest remaining steam locomotive, built in 1813. And it's still looking good!

Why are fish-bellied rails unique?

Fish-bellied rails are made of cast-iron for added strength. They're also thicker than other forms of rail.

The Glacier Express is famous for taking passengers where?

If you want a spectacular view of the Swiss Alps, then you must take a trip on the Glacier Express. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

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