From S-l-o-w to Fast!

February 28, 2020
BETTMANN—GETTY IMAGES

This time line shows how trains have changed over time.

1829

SSPL/GETTY IMAGES

Robert Stephenson built the Rocket. It was a steam engine. It was built for a contest to show off the best engine. It reached 30 miles per hour. Many steam engines since have been modeled on the Rocket.

1934

GEORGE RINHART—COBRIS/GETTY IMAGES

The Burlington Zephyr was an early diesel-powered passenger train that was in service in America. It’s on display at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

1981

RUY BARBOSA PINTO—GETTY IMAGES

The TGV is a high-speed train in France. It runs on electric power. It connects the country’s capital, Paris, with other cities there. The TGV set a world record in 2007 for fastest wheeled train. In a test run, it went 357 miles per hour.

2006

VCG/GETTY IMAGES

In Asia, trains travel on the world’s highest railway. The Qinghai–Tibet railway reaches a maximum height of 16,640 feet. It’s hard to breathe at that height. Passengers are supplied with oxygen.