25 Interesting Facts about Trains

1Japanese bullet train

The Japanese bullet train system is equipped with a network of sensitive seismometers. On March 11, 2011, one of the seismometers detected an 8.9 magnitude earthquake 12 seconds before it hit and sent a stop signal to 33 trains. As a result, only one bullet train derailed that day.


2. In 1942, a German fighter while on a bombing mission shelled a British steam engine. The pressure blew the locomotive boiler apart, tore away the chimney, dome and safety valves. The explosion was so powerful it propelled a portion of the top rim of the chimney almost a quarter of a mile. At the precise moment the boiler exploded the fighter was passing overhead and destroyed it. The train driver survived. The pilot didn’t.


3. Mecca has a Metro line (Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Line) specifically for shuttling Muslim pilgrims between holy sites during Hajj. The rail line is only open one week per year, has trains every 2.5 minutes, operates at 100% capacity, and moves nearly 4 million people.


4. The Japanese train company Sanriku runs a special train named Kotatsu during winters in Japan. Everyone on it sits on low wooden tables with attached blankets and a heat source underneath, mirroring a cozy living room atmosphere.


5. The majority of Amtrak's delays are due to freight railroads giving priority to their own trains over passenger trains. Even though this is explicitly against the law, only 1 violator has ever been charged by the Department of Justice in the entire 47-year history of Amtrak.


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6New York City subway

The New York City Subway still operates several train cars constructed in 1964 in regular service. This specific model owes its longevity to its superior durability, craftsmanship and structural quality. Retired cars from this model are shipped out to the Atlantic Ocean for artificial reefs.


7. A San Diego park's monorail was named the Wgasa Bush Line after managers requested an African-sounding name. WGASA is an acronym for "Who gives a sh *t anyways?"


8. Trains in Japan are so punctual, that if they are even 5 minutes late, the passengers get a formal apology, and most times they will even get a "delay certificate." Delays that are over an hour will also appear on the news.


9. Paris Metro trains drive on the right rather than the left and its tunnels are narrower than mainline ones in order to prevent it from being absorbed into the national railway network.


10. When trains were introduced in the U.S, many people believed that that “women’s bodies were not designed to go at 50 miles an hour,” and that their “uteruses would fly out of [their] bodies if they were accelerated to that speed.”


11Freight train

The average length of a freight train in the US is 2000 meters/1.25 miles long.


12. If you own your own rail car, Amtrak will let you attach it to one of their trains and go along for the ride.


13. Some train wheels used to be made of paper for a quieter ride, but they were eventually banned for safety reasons.


14. Each train car transporting coal from the mine to the power plant loses up to 3% of its load, a literal ton of coal.


15. There is a secret train platform beneath the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York.


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16Freight train

A freight train can move 1 ton of material approximately 500 miles using 1 gallon of diesel fuel (on average).


17. Trains in Japan have been designed to bark like a dog and snorts like a deer to scare deer away from the tracks in a bid to reduce the number of animal deaths on the railway line.


18. There is an old train track running through Germany, but it all lies on Belgian soil. This creates five chunks of German land which are not actually connected to the rest of Germany.


19. Trains stay on the tracks because of weight and the angle of the wheels, not the lip or flange on the inside of the wheel.


20. The passenger trains between the German city of Puttgarden and the Danish city of Rødby take the ferry to get from one side to the other.


21Mauritania Railway

Mauritania Railway is a 430-mile long railway line laid across the Sahara Desert in Africa whose sole purpose is to transport iron ore with 3-kilometer longs trains.


22. German railways during World War 2 forced adult prisoners to pay 4 pennies per kilometer while on their journey to death camps but children under the age of 4 traveled for free.


23. The Qinghai–Tibet railway has to use specially built passenger carriages with an oxygen supply for each passenger because it is a high-elevation railway with tracks laid at more than 16,000 feet above the sea level in some areas.


24. Between 1950 and 1955, there used to be a train named the Mashriq–Maghreb Express which ran from the westernmost extremity of Pakistan (Koh-i-Taftan in Balochistan) to the easternmost rail extremity at Chittagong in modern-day Bangladesh, stretching at total of 2000km over the Indian Territory.


25. On the world’s longest train transit on the Trans-Siberian Railway, the train ride starts from Moscow, Russia. It then travels over 6,000 miles and reaches its destination in Pyongyang, North Korea a week after commencing its journey.

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