Train
Overview
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 that move along a track
Rail tracks
The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast , plus the underlying subgrade...

 (permanent way
Permanent way
The permanent way is the elements of railway lines: generally the pairs of rails typically laid on the sleepers embedded in ballast, intended to carry the ordinary trains of a railway...

) to transport cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 or passenger
Passenger
A passenger is a term broadly used to describe any person who travels in a vehicle, but bears little or no responsibility for the tasks required for that vehicle to arrive at its destination....

s from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails
Rail profile
The rail profile is the cross sectional shape of a railway rail, perpendicular to the length of the rail.In all but very early cast iron rails, a rail is hot rolled steel of a specific cross sectional profile designed for use as the fundamental component of railway track.Unlike some other uses of...

, but might also be a monorail
Monorail
A monorail is a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guideway. The term is also used variously to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track...

 or maglev guideway.

Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

, or from individual motors in self-propelled multiple unit
Multiple unit
The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

s. Most modern trains are powered by diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

s or by electricity
Electric locomotive
An electric locomotive is a locomotive powered by electricity from overhead lines, a third rail or an on-board energy storage device...

 supplied by overhead wires
Overhead lines
Overhead lines or overhead wires are used to transmit electrical energy to trams, trolleybuses or trains at a distance from the energy supply point...

 or additional rails
Third rail
A third rail is a method of providing electric power to a railway train, through a semi-continuous rigid conductor placed alongside or between the rails of a railway track. It is used typically in a mass transit or rapid transit system, which has alignments in its own corridors, fully or almost...

, although historically (from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century) the steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

 was the dominant form of locomotive power.
Encyclopedia
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 that move along a track
Rail tracks
The track on a railway or railroad, also known as the permanent way, is the structure consisting of the rails, fasteners, sleepers and ballast , plus the underlying subgrade...

 (permanent way
Permanent way
The permanent way is the elements of railway lines: generally the pairs of rails typically laid on the sleepers embedded in ballast, intended to carry the ordinary trains of a railway...

) to transport cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

 or passenger
Passenger
A passenger is a term broadly used to describe any person who travels in a vehicle, but bears little or no responsibility for the tasks required for that vehicle to arrive at its destination....

s from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails
Rail profile
The rail profile is the cross sectional shape of a railway rail, perpendicular to the length of the rail.In all but very early cast iron rails, a rail is hot rolled steel of a specific cross sectional profile designed for use as the fundamental component of railway track.Unlike some other uses of...

, but might also be a monorail
Monorail
A monorail is a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guideway. The term is also used variously to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track...

 or maglev guideway.

Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

, or from individual motors in self-propelled multiple unit
Multiple unit
The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

s. Most modern trains are powered by diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

s or by electricity
Electric locomotive
An electric locomotive is a locomotive powered by electricity from overhead lines, a third rail or an on-board energy storage device...

 supplied by overhead wires
Overhead lines
Overhead lines or overhead wires are used to transmit electrical energy to trams, trolleybuses or trains at a distance from the energy supply point...

 or additional rails
Third rail
A third rail is a method of providing electric power to a railway train, through a semi-continuous rigid conductor placed alongside or between the rails of a railway track. It is used typically in a mass transit or rapid transit system, which has alignments in its own corridors, fully or almost...

, although historically (from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century) the steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

 was the dominant form of locomotive power. Other sources of power (such as horses
Horsecar
A horsecar or horse-drawn tram is an animal-powered streetcar or tram.These early forms of public transport developed out of industrial haulage routes that had long been in existence, and from the omnibus routes that first ran on public streets in the 1820s, using the newly improved iron or steel...

, rope or wire
Cable railway
A cable railway is a steeply graded railway that uses a cable or rope to haul trains.-Introduction:...

, gravity, pneumatics
Pneumatics
Pneumatics is a branch of technology, which deals with the study and application of use of pressurized gas to effect mechanical motion.Pneumatic systems are extensively used in industry, where factories are commonly plumbed with compressed air or compressed inert gases...

, batteries
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

, and gas turbine
Gas turbine
A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a type of internal combustion engine. It has an upstream rotating compressor coupled to a downstream turbine, and a combustion chamber in-between....

s) are possible.

The word 'train' comes from the Old French
Old French
Old French was the Romance dialect continuum spoken in territories that span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium and Switzerland from the 9th century to the 14th century...

 trahiner, itself from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 trahere 'pull, draw'.

Types of trains

There are various types of trains that are designed for particular purposes. A train can consist of a combination of one or more locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

s and attached railroad car
Railroad car
A railroad car or railway vehicle , also known as a bogie in Indian English, is a vehicle on a rail transport system that is used for the carrying of cargo or passengers. Cars can be coupled together into a train and hauled by one or more locomotives...

s, or a self-propelled multiple unit
Multiple unit
The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

 (or occasionally a single or articulated powered coach, called a railcar
Railcar
A railcar, in British English and Australian English, is a self-propelled railway vehicle designed to transport passengers. The term "railcar" is usually used in reference to a train consisting of a single coach , with a driver's cab at one or both ends. Some railways, e.g., the Great Western...

). Trains can also be hauled by horses, pulled by a cable, or run downhill by gravity.

Special kinds of trains running on corresponding special 'railways' are atmospheric railway
Atmospheric railway
An atmospheric railway uses air pressure to provide power for propulsion. In one plan a pneumatic tube is laid between the rails, with a piston running in it suspended from the train through a sealable slot in the top of the tube. Alternatively, the whole tunnel may be the pneumatic tube with the...

s, monorail
Monorail
A monorail is a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guideway. The term is also used variously to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track...

s, high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

ways, maglev
Maglev train
Maglev , is a system of transportation that uses magnetic levitation to suspend, guide and propel vehicles from magnets rather than using mechanical methods, such as friction-reliant wheels, axles and bearings...

, rubber-tired underground
Rubber-tyred metro
A rubber-tyred metro is a form of rapid transit system that uses a mix of road and rail technology. The vehicles have wheels with rubber tyres which run on rolling pads inside guide bars for traction, as well as traditional railway steel wheels with deep flanges on steel tracks for guidance through...

, funicular
Funicular
A funicular, also known as an inclined plane or cliff railway, is a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope; the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other.-Operation:The basic principle of funicular...

 and cog railways
Rack railway
A rack-and-pinion railway is a railway with a toothed rack rail, usually between the running rails. The trains are fitted with one or more cog wheels or pinions that mesh with this rack rail...

.

A passenger train may consist of one or several locomotives and coaches. Alternatively, a train may consist entirely of passenger carrying coaches, some or all of which are powered as a "multiple unit
Multiple unit
The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

". In many parts of the world, particularly the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 and Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, high-speed rail
High-speed rail
High-speed rail is a type of passenger rail transport that operates significantly faster than the normal speed of rail traffic. Specific definitions by the European Union include for upgraded track and or faster for new track, whilst in the United States, the U.S...

 is used extensively for passenger travel.

Freight trains comprise of wagons or trucks rather than carriages, though some parcel and mail trains (especially Travelling Post Office
Travelling Post Office
A Travelling Post Office was a type of mail train in the UK where the post was sorted en-route. The last Travelling Post Office services were ended on 9 January 2004, with the carriages used now sold for scrap or to preservation societies....

s) are outwardly more like passenger trains.

Trains can also be 'mixed', comprising both passenger accommodation and freight vehicles. Such mixed trains are most likely to occur where services are infrequent, and running separate passenger and freight trains is not cost-effective, though the differing needs of passengers and freight usually means this is avoided where possible.

Special trains are also used for track maintenance; in some places, this is called maintenance of way.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, a train hauled by two locomotives is said to be "double-headed", and in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 it is quite common for a long freight train to be headed by three or more locomotives. A train with a locomotive attached at each end is described as 'top and tailed', this practice typically being used when there are no reversing facilities available. Where a second locomotive is attached temporarily to assist a train up steep banks or grades (or down them by providing braking power) it is referred to as 'banking
Bank engine
A bank engine or helper engine or pusher engine is a railway locomotive that temporarily assists a train that requires additional power or traction to climb a grade...

' in the UK, or 'helper service' in North America. Recently, many loaded trains in the US have been made up with one or more locomotives in the middle or at the rear of the train, operated remotely from the lead cab. This is referred to as "DP" or "Distributed Power."

Terminology

The railway terminology that is used to describe a 'train' varies between countries.
United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, the interchangeable terms set and unit are used to refer to a group of permanently or semi-permanently coupled vehicles, such as those of a multiple unit
Multiple unit
The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

. While when referring to a train made up of a variety of vehicles, or of several sets/units, the term formation is used. (Although the UK public and media often forgo 'formation', for simply 'train'.) The word rake is also used for a group of coaches or wagons.

In the United Kingdom Section 83(1) of the Railways Act 1993
Railways Act 1993
The Railways Act 1993 was introduced by John Major's Conservative government and passed on 5 November 1993. It provided for the restructuring of the British Railways Board , the public corporation that owned and operated the national railway system...

 defines "train" as follows:
a) two or more items of rolling stock coupled together, at least one of which is a locomotive; or
b) a locomotive not coupled to any other rolling stock.


United States
In the United States, the term consist is used to describe the group of rail vehicles which make up a train. When referring to motive power
Motive power
In thermodynamics, motive power is an agency, as water or steam, used to impart motion. Generally, motive power is defined as a natural agent, as water, steam, wind, electricity, etc., used to impart motion to machinery; a motor; a mover. The term may also define something, as a locomotive or a...

, consist refers to the group of locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

s powering the train. Similarly, the term trainset refers to a group of rolling stock
Rolling stock
Rolling stock comprises all the vehicles that move on a railway. It usually includes both powered and unpowered vehicles, for example locomotives, railroad cars, coaches and wagons...

 that is permanently or semi-permanently coupled together to form a unified set of equipment (the term is most often applied to passenger train configurations).

There are three types of trains: Electric, Diesel and Steam.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway , often abbreviated as Santa Fe, was one of the larger railroads in the United States. The company was first chartered in February 1859...

's 1948 operating rules define a train as: "An engine or more than one engine coupled, with or without cars, displaying markers."

Bogies


A bogie (icon ) is a wheel
Wheel
A wheel is a device that allows heavy objects to be moved easily through rotating on an axle through its center, facilitating movement or transportation while supporting a load, or performing labor in machines. Common examples found in transport applications. A wheel, together with an axle,...

ed wagon or trolley. In mechanics
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

 terms, a bogie is a chassis
Chassis
A chassis consists of an internal framework that supports a man-made object. It is analogous to an animal's skeleton. An example of a chassis is the underpart of a motor vehicle, consisting of the frame with the wheels and machinery.- Vehicles :In the case of vehicles, the term chassis means the...

 or framework carrying wheels, attached to a vehicle. It can be fixed in place, as on a cargo truck, mounted on a swivel, as on a railway carriage or locomotive, or sprung as in the suspension of a caterpillar tracked vehicle
Tracked vehicle
A tracked vehicle is a vehicle that runs on continuous tracks instead of wheels...

.

Motive power

The first trains were rope-hauled, gravity powered or pulled by horses. From the early 19th century almost all were powered by steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

s. From the 1910s onwards the steam locomotives began to be replaced by less labour intensive and cleaner (but more complex and expensive) diesel locomotive
Diesel locomotive
A diesel locomotive is a type of railroad locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine, a reciprocating engine operating on the Diesel cycle as invented by Dr. Rudolf Diesel...

s and electric locomotive
Electric locomotive
An electric locomotive is a locomotive powered by electricity from overhead lines, a third rail or an on-board energy storage device...

s, while at about the same time self-propelled multiple unit
Multiple unit
The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

 vehicles of either power system became much more common in passenger service. In most countries dieselisation
Dieselisation
Dieselisation or dieselization is a term generally used for the increasingly common use of diesel fuel in vehicles, as opposed to gasoline or steam engines.-Water Transport:...

 of locomotives in day-to-day use was completed by the 1970s. A few countries, most notably the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, where coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

 and labour are cheap, still use a few steam locomotives, but most have been phased out. Historic steam trains
Heritage railway
thumb|right|the Historical [[Khyber train safari|Khyber Railway]] goes through the [[Khyber Pass]], [[Pakistan]]A heritage railway , preserved railway , tourist railway , or tourist railroad is a railway that is run as a tourist attraction, in some cases by volunteers, and...

 still run in many other countries, for the leisure and enthusiast market.

Electric traction offers a lower cost per mile of train operation but at a higher initial cost, which can only be justified on high traffic lines. Since the cost per mile of construction is much higher, electric traction is less viable for long-distance lines with the exception of long-distance high speed lines. Electric trains receive their current via overhead lines
Overhead lines
Overhead lines or overhead wires are used to transmit electrical energy to trams, trolleybuses or trains at a distance from the energy supply point...

 or through a third rail electric system
Third rail
A third rail is a method of providing electric power to a railway train, through a semi-continuous rigid conductor placed alongside or between the rails of a railway track. It is used typically in a mass transit or rapid transit system, which has alignments in its own corridors, fully or almost...

.

A recent variation of the electric locomotive is the fuel cell locomotive. Fuel cell locomotives combine the advantage of not needing an electrical system in place, with the advantage of emissionless operation. However, the initial cost of such fuel cell vehicle
Fuel cell vehicle
A Fuel cell vehicle or Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle is a type of hydrogen vehicle which uses a fuel cell to produce electricity, powering its on-board electric motor...

s is still substantial at the moment.

Passenger trains

A passenger train is one which includes passenger-carrying vehicles. It may be a self-powered multiple unit
Multiple unit
The term multiple unit or MU is used to describe a self-propelled carriages capable of coupling with other units of the same or similar type and still being controlled from one driving cab. The term is commonly used to denote passenger trainsets consisting of more than one carriage...

 or railcar
Railcar
A railcar, in British English and Australian English, is a self-propelled railway vehicle designed to transport passengers. The term "railcar" is usually used in reference to a train consisting of a single coach , with a driver's cab at one or both ends. Some railways, e.g., the Great Western...

, or else a combination of one or more locomotive
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

s and one or more unpowered trailers known as coaches, cars or carriages. Passenger trains travel between stations
Train station
A train station, also called a railroad station or railway station and often shortened to just station,"Station" is commonly understood to mean "train station" unless otherwise qualified. This is evident from dictionary entries e.g...

 or depot
Train station
A train station, also called a railroad station or railway station and often shortened to just station,"Station" is commonly understood to mean "train station" unless otherwise qualified. This is evident from dictionary entries e.g...

s, at which passengers may board and disembark. In most cases, passenger trains operate on a fixed schedule
Public transport timetable
A public transport timetable is a representation of public transport information to assist a passenger with planning a trip using public transport. A timetable details when vehicle will arrive and depart specified locations and may be organised for by route or for a particular stop...

 and have superior track occupancy rights over freight train
Freight train
A freight train or goods train is a group of freight cars or goods wagons hauled by one or more locomotives on a railway, ultimately transporting cargo between two points as part of the logistics chain...

s.

Oversight of a passenger train is the responsibility of the conductor
Conductor (transportation)
A conductor is a member of a railway train's crew that is responsible for operational and safety duties that do not involve the actual operation of the train. The title of conductor is most associated with railway operations in North America, but the role of conductor is common to railways...

. He or she is usually assisted by other crew members, such as service attendants or porters
Porter (railroad)
A porter is a railway employee assigned to assist passengers aboard a passenger train or to handle their baggage; it may be used particularly to refer to employees assigned to assisting passengers in the sleeping cars....

. During the heyday of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n passenger rail travel, long distance trains carried two conductors: the aforementioned train conductor, and a Pullman conductor
Pullman Company
The Pullman Palace Car Company, founded by George Pullman, manufactured railroad cars in the mid-to-late 19th century through the early decades of the 20th century, during the boom of railroads in the United States. Pullman developed the sleeping car which carried his name into the 1980s...

, the latter being in charge of sleeping car
Sleeping car
The sleeping car or sleeper is a railway/railroad passenger car that can accommodate all its passengers in beds of one kind or another, primarily for the purpose of making nighttime travel more restful. The first such cars saw sporadic use on American railroads in the 1830s and could be configured...

 personnel.

Many prestigious passenger train services
Luxury trains
Luxury trains are special trains designed specifically to offer a sumptuous yet elegant train ride, and evoke a strong sense of association as in history, heritage and decadence of a leisure ride. Luxury trains operate in several countries and offer a luxurious and comfortable traveling option to...

 have been given a specific name, some of which have become famous in literature and fiction. In past years, railroaders often referred to passenger trains as the "varnish", alluding to the bygone days of wooden-bodied coaches with their lustrous exterior finishes and fancy livery
Livery
A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in...

. "Blocking the varnish" meant a slow-moving freight train was obstructing a fast passenger train, causing delays.

Some passenger trains, both long distance and short distanced, may use bi-level (double-decker)
Bilevel car
The bilevel car or double-decker coach is a type of rail car that has two levels of passenger accommodation, as opposed to one, increasing passenger capacity ....

 cars to carry more passengers per train. Car design and the general safety of passenger trains have dramatically evolved over time, making travel by rail remarkably safe.

High-speed rail

One notable and growing long-distance train category is high-speed rail. Generally, high speed rail runs at speeds above 200 km/h (124 mph) and often operates on dedicated track that is surveyed and prepared to accommodate high speeds. Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

's Shinkansen
Shinkansen
The , also known as THE BULLET TRAIN, is a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan operated by four Japan Railways Group companies. Starting with the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1964, the network has expanded to currently consist of of lines with maximum speeds of , of Mini-shinkansen with a...

 ("bullet-train") commenced operation in 1964, and was the first successful example of a high speed passenger rail system.

The fastest wheeled train running on rails is France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

's TGV
TGV
The TGV is France's high-speed rail service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the French national rail operator....

 (Train à Grande Vitesse, literally "high speed train"), which achieved a speed of 574.8 km/h (357.2 mph), twice the takeoff speed of a Boeing 727
Boeing 727
The Boeing 727 is a mid-size, narrow-body, three-engine, T-tailed commercial jet airliner, manufactured by Boeing. The Boeing 727 first flew in 1963, and for over a decade more were built per year than any other jet airliner. When production ended in 1984 a total of 1,832 aircraft had been produced...

 jetliner
Jetliner
Jetliner are an alternative rock band from the USA. They focus on melodic piano based rock and have been compared to Queen and early Elton John, being heavily influenced by early 70s rock. Composed of Adam Paskowitz of The Flys, son of Doc Paskowitz, on piano and lead vocals, Jeff Kluesner on...

, under test conditions in 2007. The highest speed currently attained in scheduled revenue operation is 350 km/h (217 mph) on the Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Rail and Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway
Wuhan–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway
The Wuguang High-Speed Railway , short for Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway, Wuhan–Guangzhou Section, is a high-speed rail line, operated by China Railway High-speed , connecting Wuhan and Guangzhou , in the People's Republic of China...

 systems in China. The TGV runs at a maximum revenue speed of 300–320 km/h (186.4–198.8 mph), as does Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

's Inter-City Express
InterCityExpress
The Intercity-Express or ICE is a system of high-speed trains predominantly running in Germany and neighbouring countries. It is the highest service category offered by DB Fernverkehr and is the flagship of Deutsche Bahn...

.

In most cases, high-speed rail travel is time- and cost-competitive with air travel when distances do not exceed 500 to 600 km (310.7 to 372.8 mi), as airport
Airport
An airport is a location where aircraft such as fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, and blimps take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport...

 check-in
Check-in
Check-in is the process of announcing your arrival at a hotel, airport, sea port or social network service.-Airlines and airports :Check-in desks are found in the majority of commercial airports. Their main function is to take in luggage that passengers wish to, or are required to, place within the...

 and boarding procedures may add as many as two hours to the actual transit time. Also, rail operating costs over these distances may be lower when the amount of fuel
Jet fuel
Jet fuel is a type of aviation fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines. It is clear to straw-colored in appearance. The most commonly used fuels for commercial aviation are Jet A and Jet A-1 which are produced to a standardized international specification...

 consumed by an airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

 during takeoff and climbout
Takeoff
Takeoff is the phase of flight in which an aerospace vehicle goes from the ground to flying in the air.For horizontal takeoff aircraft this usually involves starting with a transition from moving along the ground on a runway. For balloons, helicopters and some specialized fixed-wing aircraft , no...

 is considered. As travel distance increases, the latter consideration becomes less of the total cost of operating an airliner and air travel becomes more cost-competitive.

Some high speed rail equipment employs tilting technology
Tilting train
A tilting train is a train that has a mechanism enabling increased speed on regular rail tracks. As a train rounds a curve at speed, objects inside the train experience centrifugal force. This can cause packages to slide about or seated passengers to feel squashed by the outboard armrest due to...

 to improve stability in curves. Examples of such equipment are the Advanced Passenger Train
Advanced Passenger Train
The Advanced Passenger Train was an experimental tilting High Speed Train developed by British Rail during the 1970s and early 1980s....

 (APT), the Pendolino
Pendolino
Pendolino is an Italian family of tilting trains used in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Finland, Russian Federation, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Switzerland, China and shortly in Romania and Poland...

, the N700 Series Shinkansen
N700 Series Shinkansen
The is a Japanese Shinkansen high-speed train with tilting capability developed jointly by JR Central and JR West for use on the Tōkaidō and Sanyō Shinkansen lines, and also operated by JR Kyushu on the Kyushu Shinkansen line....

, Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

's Acela Express
Acela Express
The Acela Express is Amtrak's high-speed rail service along the Northeast Corridor in the Northeast United States between Washington, D.C., and Boston via Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York...

 and the Talgo
Talgo
Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of railway vehicles. It is best known for a design of articulated railway passenger cars in which the wheels are mounted in pairs, but not joined by an axle, and being between rather than underneath the individual coaches...

. Tilting is a dynamic form of superelevation, allowing both low- and high-speed traffic to use the same trackage (though not simultaneously, of course), as well as producing a more comfortable ride for passengers.

Maglev

In order to achieve much faster operation over 500 km/h (310.7 mph), innovative Maglev
Maglev train
Maglev , is a system of transportation that uses magnetic levitation to suspend, guide and propel vehicles from magnets rather than using mechanical methods, such as friction-reliant wheels, axles and bearings...

 technology has been researched for years. The Shanghai Maglev Train
Shanghai Maglev Train
The Shanghai Maglev Train or Shanghai Transrapid is a magnetic levitation train, or maglev line that operates in Shanghai, China. It is the first commercially operated high-speed magnetic levitation line in the world...

, opened in 2003, is the fastest commercial train service of any kind, operating at speeds of up to 430 km/h (267.2 mph). So far, however, Maglev has not been used for inter-city mass transit
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

 routes.

Inter-city trains

Passenger trains can be divided into three major groups:
  • Intercity
    Inter-city rail
    Inter-city rail services are express passenger train services that cover longer distances than commuter or regional trains.There is no precise definition of inter-city rail. Its meaning may vary from country to country...

     trains: connecting cities in the fastest time possible, by passing all intermediate
    Intermediate
    Intermediate means "occurring between two extremes, or in the middle of a range". It comes from the Latin word 'intermedia' which literally means 'among the middle' and may refer to:...

     stations
  • Fast
    FAST
    -Primary meanings:Fast may refer to:* Fast as in high speed or velocity, may be used with anything that has a speed.* Fasting, abstaining from foodSlang:* Fast, a slang term for someone who is sexually promiscuous-Sports:...

     trains: calling at larger intermediate stations between cities, serving large urban
    Urban area
    An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

     communities
  • Regional
    Régional
    Régional Compagnie Aérienne Européenne, or Régional for short, is a subsidiary airline wholly owned by Air France which connects hubs at Paris, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, and Bordeaux to 49 airports in Europe. The airline operates in Air France livery, retaining its name in small titles and logo on...

     trains: calling at all intermediate stations between cities, serving all lineside communities


The distinction between the types can be thin or even non-existent. Trains can run as Intercity services between major cities, then revert to a fast or even regional train service to serve communities at the extremity of their journey. This practice allows marginal
Marginalization
In sociology, marginalisation , or marginalization , is the social process of becoming or being made marginal or relegated to the fringe of society e.g.; "the marginalization of the underclass", "marginalisation of intellect", etc.-Individual:Marginalization at the individual level results in an...

 communities remaining to be served while saving money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

 at the expense of a longer journey time for those wishing to travel to the terminus station.

Regional trains

Regional trains usually connect between towns and cities, rather than purely linking major population hubs like inter-city train, and serve local traffic demand in relatively rural area
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

.

Commuter trains

For shorter distances many cities have networks of commuter trains, serving the city and its suburbs. Trains are a very efficient mode of transport
Mode of transport
Mode of transport is a term used to distinguish substantially different ways to perform transport. The most dominant modes of transport are aviation, land transport, which includes rail, road and off-road transport, and ship transport...

ation to cope with large traffic demand in a metropolis
Metropolis
A metropolis is a very large city or urban area which is a significant economic, political and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections and communications...

. Compared with road transport, it carries many people with much smaller land area and little air pollution.

Some carriages may be laid out to have more standing room than seats, or to facilitate the carrying of prams, cycles
Bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

 or wheelchair
Wheelchair
A wheelchair is a chair with wheels, designed to be a replacement for walking. The device comes in variations where it is propelled by motors or by the seated occupant turning the rear wheels by hand. Often there are handles behind the seat for someone else to do the pushing...

s. Some countries have double-decked passenger trains
Bilevel car
The bilevel car or double-decker coach is a type of rail car that has two levels of passenger accommodation, as opposed to one, increasing passenger capacity ....

 for use in conurbations. Double deck high speed and sleeper trains are becoming more common in mainland Europe.

Sometimes extreme congestion of commuter trains becomes a problem. For example, an estimated 3.5 million passengers ride every day on Yamanote Line
Yamanote Line
The is commuter rail loop line in Tokyo, Japan, operated by East Japan Railway Company . It is one of Tokyo's busiest and most important lines, connecting most of Tokyo's major stations and urban centres, including the Yūrakuchō/Ginza area, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ikebukuro, with all but two of its...

 in Tokyo
Tokyo
, ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

, Japan, with its 29 stations. For comparison, the New York City Subway carries 4.8 million passengers per day on 24 services serving 468 stations. To cope with large traffic, special cars in which the bench seats fold up to provide standing room only during the morning rush hour (until 10 a.m.) are operated in Tokyo (E231 series
E231 series
The is an electric multiple unit type used for commuter and outer-suburban services operated by East Japan Railway Company in Japan since 2000.-Design:...

 train). In the past this train has included 2 cars with six doors on each side to shorten the time for passengers to get on and off at station.

Passenger trains usually have emergency brake
Emergency brake (train)
On trains, the expression emergency brake has several meanings:* The maximum brake force available to the driver/engineer from his conventional braking system, usually operated by taking the brake handle to its furthest postion, through a gate mechanism, or by pushing a separate plunger in the cab*...

 handles (or a "communication cord") that the public can operate. Misuse is punished by a heavy fine.

Long-distance trains

Long-distance trains travel between many cities and/or regions of a country, and sometimes cross several countries. They often have a dining car
Dining car
A dining car or restaurant carriage , also diner, is a railroad passenger car that serves meals in the manner of a full-service, sit-down restaurant....

 or restaurant car to allow passengers to have a meal during the course of their journey. Trains travelling overnight may also have sleeping car
Sleeping car
The sleeping car or sleeper is a railway/railroad passenger car that can accommodate all its passengers in beds of one kind or another, primarily for the purpose of making nighttime travel more restful. The first such cars saw sporadic use on American railroads in the 1830s and could be configured...

s. Currently much of travel on these distances of over 500 miles is done by air on many countries but on many others long-distance travel by rail is popular or only cheap way to cross vast distances.

Rapid transit

Large cities often have a metro
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 system, also called underground, subway or tube. The trains are electrically powered, usually by third rail
Third rail
A third rail is a method of providing electric power to a railway train, through a semi-continuous rigid conductor placed alongside or between the rails of a railway track. It is used typically in a mass transit or rapid transit system, which has alignments in its own corridors, fully or almost...

, and their railroads are separate from other traffic, usually without level crossing
Level crossing
A level crossing occurs where a railway line is intersected by a road or path onone level, without recourse to a bridge or tunnel. It is a type of at-grade intersection. The term also applies when a light rail line with separate right-of-way or reserved track crosses a road in the same fashion...

s. Usually they run in tunnels in the city centre and sometimes on elevated structures in the outer parts of the city. They can accelerate and decelerate faster than heavier, long-distance trains.

The term rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

is used for public transport such as commuter trains, metro and light rail. However, in New York City, services on the New York City Subway
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

 have been referred to as "trains".

Tram

In most countries, such as the United Kingdom, the distinction between a tramway and a railway is precise and defined in law. In the US and Canada such street railways are mostly referred to as trolleys
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

. The key difference between a railroad and a trolley system is the latter running primarily on public streets, whereas trains have a right of way
Right of way (public throughway)
Right of way is a term first used to describe the right to travel unhindered, to access a route regardless of land ownership or any other legality.The right of way may be limited...

 separated from the public. Often the US style interurban
Interurban
An interurban, also called a radial railway in parts of Canada, is a type of electric passenger railroad; in short a hybrid between tram and train. Interurbans enjoyed widespread popularity in the first three decades of the twentieth century in North America. Until the early 1920s, most roads were...

 and modern light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 are confused with a trolley system, as it too may run on on the street for short or medium long sections. In some languages the word tram also refers to interurban and light rail -style networks, in particular Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

.

The length of a tram or trolley may be determined by national regulations. Germany has the so-called Bo-Strab standard, restricting the length of a tram to 75 metres, while in the US, vehicle length is normally restricted by local authorities, often allowing only a single type of vehicle to operate on the network.

Light rail

The term light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 is sometimes used for a modern tram system, but it may also mean an intermediate form between a tram and a train, similar to a subway
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

 except that it may have level crossings. These are then usually protected with crossing gates. In US terminology these systems are often referred to as interurban
Interurban
An interurban, also called a radial railway in parts of Canada, is a type of electric passenger railroad; in short a hybrid between tram and train. Interurbans enjoyed widespread popularity in the first three decades of the twentieth century in North America. Until the early 1920s, most roads were...

, as they connect larger urban areas in the vicinity of a major city to that city. Modern light rail systems often use abandoned heavy rail rights of way
Right of way (public throughway)
Right of way is a term first used to describe the right to travel unhindered, to access a route regardless of land ownership or any other legality.The right of way may be limited...

 (e.g. former railway lines) to revitalize deprived areas and redevelopment
Redevelopment
Redevelopment is any new construction on a site that has pre-existing uses.-Description:Variations on redevelopment include:* Urban infill on vacant parcels that have no existing activity but were previously developed, especially on Brownfield land, such as the redevelopment of an industrial site...

 sites in and around large agglomerations.

Monorail

Monorail
Monorail
A monorail is a rail-based transportation system based on a single rail, which acts as its sole support and its guideway. The term is also used variously to describe the beam of the system, or the vehicles traveling on such a beam or track...

 was developed to meet medium-demand traffic in urban transit, but represents a relatively small part of the overall railway field.

Named trains

Railway companies often give a name to a train service as a marketing exercise, to raise the profile of the service and hence attract more passengers (and also to gain kudos
Praise
Praise is the act of making positive statements about a person, object or idea, either in public or privately. Praise is typically, but not exclusively, earned relative to achievement and accomplishment...

 for the company). Usually, naming is reserved for the most prestigious trains: the high-speed express trains between major cities, stopping at few intermediate stations. The names of services such as the Orient Express
Orient Express
The Orient Express is the name of a long-distance passenger train service originally operated by the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. It ran from 1883 to 2009 and is not to be confused with the Venice-Simplon Orient Express train service, which continues to run.The route and rolling stock...

, the Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman (train)
The Flying Scotsman is an express passenger train service that has been running between London and Edinburgh—the capitals of England and Scotland respectively—since 1862...

, the Flèche d'Or and the Royal Scot
Royal Scot (train)
The Royal Scot was a British named express passenger train that ran between and , the length of the West Coast Main Line , with previously a portion also going to Edinburgh. For many years it departed from both ends at 10:00...

 have passed into popular culture.

A somewhat less common practice is the naming of freight trains, for the same commercial reasons. The "Condor" was an overnight London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

-Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 express goods train, in the 1960s, hauled by pairs of "Metrovick"
British Rail Class 28
The British Rail Class 28 diesel locomotives, or 'Metrovicks' as they were popularly known, were built as part of the British Railways 1955 Modernisation Plan. The locomotives had a Co-Bo wheel arrangement – unique in British Railways practice though not uncommon in other countries, notably Japan...

 diesel locomotives. In the mid-1960s, British Rail
British Rail
British Railways , which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the operator of most of the rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages...

 introduced the "Freightliner"
Freightliner (UK)
Freightliner Group Limited is a rail freight and logistics company, founded in 1995 and now operating in the United Kingdom, Poland, and Australia. It is the second largest rail freight operator in the UK, after DB Schenker Rail .- History :...

 brand, for the new train services carrying containers
Containerization
Containerization is a system of freight transport based on a range of steel intermodal containers...

 between dedicated terminals around the rail network. The Rev. W. Awdry also named freight trains, coining the term The Flying Kipper for the overnight express fish train that appeared in his stories in The Railway Series
The Railway Series
The Railway Series is a set of story books about a railway system located on the fictional Island of Sodor. There are 42 books in the series, the first being published in 1945. Twenty-six were written by the Rev. W. Awdry, up to 1972. A further 16 were written by his son, Christopher Awdry; 14...

 books.

Other types

Heritage trains

Heritage trains are operated by volunteers, often railfans, as a tourist attraction. Usually trains are formed from historic vehicles retired from national commercial operation.

Airport trains
Airport trains transport people between terminals within an airport complex.

Mine trains
Mine trains are operated in large mines and carry both workers and goods.
Overland trains
Overland train
Overland train
In the 1950s the LeTourneau company developed several overland trains, essentially oversized semi-trailer trucks that could travel over almost any terrain. Their intention was to be able to handle logistics needs without being dependent on local road or rail systems, allowing them to operate in...

s are used to carry cargo over rough terrain.

Freight trains

A freight train
Freight train
A freight train or goods train is a group of freight cars or goods wagons hauled by one or more locomotives on a railway, ultimately transporting cargo between two points as part of the logistics chain...

 (also known as goods train) uses freight cars (also known as wagons or trucks) to transport goods or materials (cargo
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

) – essentially any train that is not used for carrying passengers. Much of the world's freight is transported by train, and in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 the rail system is used more for transporting freight than passengers.

Under the right circumstances, transporting freight by train is highly economic, and also more energy efficient than transporting freight by road. Rail freight is most economic when freight is being carried in bulk and over long distances, but is less suited to short distances and small loads. Bulk aggregate movements of a mere twenty miles (32 km) can be cost effective even allowing for trans-shipment
Transshipment
Transshipment or Transhipment is the shipment of goods or containers to an intermediate destination, and then from there to yet another destination....

 costs. These trans-shipment costs dominate in many cases and many modern practices such as Intermodal container
Intermodal container
An intermodal container is a standardized reusable steel box used for the safe, efficient and secure storage and movement of materials and products within a global containerized intermodal freight transport system...

 freight are aimed at minimizing these.

The main disadvantage of rail freight is its lack of flexibility. For this reason, rail has lost much of the freight business to road competition
Road transport
Road transport or road transportation is transport on roads of passengers or goods. A hybrid of road transport and ship transport is the historic horse-drawn boat.-History:...

. Many governments are now trying to encourage more freight onto trains, because of the benefits that it would bring.

There are many different types of freight trains, which are used to carry many different kinds of freight, with many different types of wagons. One of the most common types on modern railways are container trains, where containers can be lifted on and off the train by crane
Crane (machine)
A crane is a type of machine, generally equipped with a hoist, wire ropes or chains, and sheaves, that can be used both to lift and lower materials and to move them horizontally. It uses one or more simple machines to create mechanical advantage and thus move loads beyond the normal capability of...

s and loaded off or onto truck
Truck
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

s or ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

s.

In the U.S. this type of freight train has largely superseded the traditional boxcar
Boxcar
A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

 (wagon-load) type of freight train, with which the cargo has to be loaded or unloaded manually. In Europe the sliding wall wagon has taken over from the ordinary covered goods wagon
Covered goods wagon
A covered goods wagon or van is a railway goods wagon which is designed for the transportation of moisture-susceptible goods and therefore fully enclosed by sides and a fixed roof. They are often referred to simply as covered wagons, and this is the term used by the International Union of Railways...

.

In some countries "piggy-back" trains or rolling highway
Rolling Highway
A rolling highway is a combined transport system to transport trucks by rail....

s are used: In the latter case truck
Truck
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

s can drive straight onto the train and drive off again when the end destination is reached. A system like this is used through the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
The Channel Tunnel is a undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent in the United Kingdom with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais near Calais in northern France beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. At its lowest point, it is deep...

 between England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and for the trans-Alpine service between France and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 (this service uses Modalohr road trailer carriers). "Piggy-back" trains are the fastest growing type of freight trains in the United States, where they are also known as "trailer
Semi-trailer
A semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle. A large proportion of its weight is supported by a road tractor, a detachable front axle assembly known as a dolly, or the tail of another trailer...

 on flatcar
Flatcar
A flatcar is a piece of railroad or railway rolling stock that consists of an open, flat deck on four or six wheels or a pair of trucks or bogies . The deck of the car can be wood or steel, and the sides of the deck can include pockets for stakes or tie-down points to secure loads...

" or TOFC trains. Piggy-back trains require no special modifications to the vehicles being carried. An alternative type of "inter-modal" vehicle, known as a roadrailer
Roadrailer
In railroad terminology a Roadrailer or RoadRailer is a highway trailer, or semi-trailer, that is specially equipped for use in railroad intermodal service.- Overview :...

, is designed to be physically attached to the train. The original trailers were fitted with two sets of wheels — one set flanged, for the trailer to run connected to other such trailers as a rail vehicle in a train; and one set tyred, for use as the semi-trailer
Semi-trailer
A semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle. A large proportion of its weight is supported by a road tractor, a detachable front axle assembly known as a dolly, or the tail of another trailer...

 of a road vehicle. More modern trailers have only road wheels and are designed to be carried on specially adapted bogie
Bogie
A bogie is a wheeled wagon or trolley. In mechanics terms, a bogie is a chassis or framework carrying wheels, attached to a vehicle. It can be fixed in place, as on a cargo truck, mounted on a swivel, as on a railway carriage/car or locomotive, or sprung as in the suspension of a caterpillar...

s (trucks) when moving on rails.

There are also many other types of wagons, such as "low loader" wagons for transporting road vehicles. There are refrigerator car
Refrigerator car
A refrigerator car is a refrigerated boxcar , a piece of railroad rolling stock designed to carry perishable freight at specific temperatures. Refrigerator cars differ from simple insulated boxcars and ventilated boxcars , neither of which are fitted with cooling apparatus...

s for transporting food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

s such as ice cream. There are simple types of open-topped wagons
Gondola (rail)
In railroad terminology, a gondola is an open-top type of rolling stock that is used for carrying loose bulk materials. Because of its low side walls, gondolas are used to carry either very dense material, such as steel plates or coils, or bulky items such as prefabricated pieces of rail...

 for transporting mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s and bulk material such as coal
Coal
Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock usually occurring in rock strata in layers or veins called coal beds or coal seams. The harder forms, such as anthracite coal, can be regarded as metamorphic rock because of later exposure to elevated temperature and pressure...

, and tankers
Tank car
A tank car is a type of railroad rolling stock designed to transport liquid and gaseous commodities.-Timeline:...

 for transporting liquids and gases. Today, however, most coal and aggregates are moved in hopper wagons
Hopper car
A hopper car is a type of railroad freight car used to transport loose bulk commodities such as coal, ore, grain, track ballast, and the like. The name originated from the coke manufacturing industry which is part of the steel industry ....

 that can be filled and discharged rapidly, to enable efficient handling of the materials.

Freight trains are sometimes illegally boarded by passengers who do not wish to pay money, or do not have the money to travel by ordinary means. This is referred to as "freighthopping
Freighthopping
Freighthopping or train hopping is the act of surreptitiously hitching a ride on a railroad freight car. In the United States, this became a common means of transportation following the American Civil War as the railroads began pushing westward, especially among migrant workers who became known as...

" and is considered by some communities to be a viable form of transport. A common way of boarding the train illegally is by sneaking into a train yard and stowing away in an unattended boxcar; a more dangerous practice is trying to catch a train "on the fly", that is, as it is moving, leading to occasional fatalities. Railroads treat it as trespassing and may prosecute it as such.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK