In the past fifteen years it seems that trains have gotten a technological facelift. From freightliners to passenger cars, go to Europe or Asia, and you’ll see some of the fastest, most top-of-the-line, track transportation there is out there. It’s not exclusively the trains (with their signature, duck-like faces, check it out), themselves though. The technology for making trains has vastly improved. More importantly, engineers these are days aren’t the conventional types. They’re not afraid to experiment, implement, and improve. So here’s a look at some of the more recent designs that have helped revitalize the train industry.
One of the greatest songs of early rock-‘n-roll is the ‘Wabash Cannon Ball’, a folk song based on the passenger freighter designed by the Wabash Railroad company. Or was it? Many of us, who still remember trains in the United States, are familiar with that brightly printed logo, with that authoritative, Western ‘W’, stamped firmly to label this cargo box as property of Wabash. Safe and reliable, that was the Wabash way. As for that great passenger line, immortalized in song? Actually, it didn’t exist.
The Wabash Line was has long been decommissioned, railroad and all. Sorry to say, it has run its last track, and played its part in helping to shape American History. I was going through some old Wabash posters and collectibles I had yet to organize, when my mood turned philosophical. I began to contemplate the great train dynasty in our country- the great historical legacy trains have left behind for us.
Here in the United States, especially post-Katrina, trains are hardly ever used anymore. Oh there is still the interconnected railway that unites the upper eastern seaboard, and there are still a few key lines open for logistics, manufacturing, and distribution. There are also still some passenger lines, but they now operate mainly on a local level, with long-distance passages often resulting in skyrocket prices and convoluted routes. There are no luxury lines anymore.
Sadly, the takeoff of the airline industry sounded the death knell for trains. A connected flight could take you across oceans, to places trains could not access. Planes were faster, safer, and due to their marketability, they quickly became cheaper. Which I’ve always found to be a true shame, for our country is uniquely suited for this particular type of transportation. Riding in clouds may give you a birds’ eye perspective, but a train allows you see it all, in first row, first class seats. Everyone is packed in like sardines when on an airplane. A train provides the experience of comfort and luxury that really; anyone can have, without having to be one of the one percent. Doesn’t anyone else think that’s great? Was I alone in wishing for days long past, when people didn’t have to be on the Fortune 500 to be treated occasionally with above-average dignity?
This got me wondering if anybody else out there though along the same lines that I did. As it turns out, people do. Granted, they’re mostly in other places around the world, places where trains still play a vital role in the nations’ economy. As it turns out, there are quite a few hard-working individuals, who push for historic luxury lines to remain open- providing their guests with the ultimate in the train experience. I researched a few, and thought I’d share some highlights from my results.
The Venice Simplon Orient Express
More recognizably known as the Orient Express, this line was recently overhauled and restored to its vintage, 1920’s style. Made famous by novels and movies, such as the Orient Express, this train continues to operate today. It runs through Europe, and even makes a special connection in England.
Rovos Rail Pride of Africa
Africa is still a major continent on which trains run. The epitome of which is this train, noted for its’ authentic cars and exemplary hospitality. Many rave about this travelling experience, as much for the views and stops this original line makes, as well as the service it provides. This train has operated since the colonial times, but the one you’ll ride on has been restored also to its 1920’s grandeur, when it was at the height of its glory.
The Eastern and Oriental Express:
This particular line actually goes through the orient- covering over a thousand miles of Southeast Asia. It runs notably through Singapore, Malaysia, and ends in Bangkok, at the heart of the Siam. This liner offers its guests breathtaking views of the eastern landscape, and was originally part of New Zealand’s acclaimed, Silver Star Liner, before it was bought out in 1991.
This train is headquartered at the Gateway to the East, Budapest, Hungary. Its spacious carriages are impressive, and its luxury is reminiscent of that romantic, Old World sense the area still manages to maintain. This is the way to travel through an area that hasn’t been as commercialized as much of central Europe, and still retains much of the same level of comfort.
China is the forerunner in modern train technology, and the Shangri-la is no different. It’s not a luxury liner per se, but its first class accommodations rival those of hotels. That’s right, you read me correctly. These private cabins are comparable to first class hotel rooms- complete full bathrooms that come with pressurized shower stalls big enough to stretch out in. It’s modern convenience for this train, and its rails handle like glass, which make for an incredibly smooth riding experience.
This is another famous, renovated luxury train, which only recently returned to the track. The Al-Andalus is known for its opulence, and only reconfirmed with its 1920’s style restoration. The dining car includes a full bar and lounge- which is awesome. The train is also well-known for its track; the course continues its beautiful journey through the Andal Mountains of southern Spain.
This Swiss train is known for going slow. In fact, Switzerland boasts that it is the slowest moving express in the world. They are probably right by today’s standards – the train takes eight hours to complete its under-300 kilometer course. It only moves between two resorts, both high in the mountains. It’s for this reason the train moves so slowly- so you can enjoy the view. And what a view it is too, the Alps contain some of the most awe-inspiring peaks the world has to offer. Get lost in this mountainous scenery, while this resort express takes you safely through.
This Indian luxury express was designed to be made fit for a king. Although the name brings to mind ancient tombs, and old sheiks wrapped up in turbans and silk, this train is anything but old-fashioned. This carriage is a testament to the boom in India’s economy, and it offers full amenities, from world-class cuisine both familiar and exotic, to easy Wi-Fi access, fully controllable temperatures, and LCD televisions. This is the way to travel in style.
These are only a few of the high-class train lines I was able to discover. My thanks goes out to all who go through the effort of keeping this excellent mode of transportation alive in the face of great and quick technological advancement. Unfortunately, these trains listed are above the average pricing, as trains of this caliber are a very niche market these days. But once, many a stalwart adventurer crossed these same tracks, and I hope many of the newer models create many stalwart adventurers yet. In the meantime, I can only bemoan this lost dynasty, celebrate what remains of its grandeur, and work on some new ideas for my next vacation, including some fantastic train rides.
From the days of the Wabash up to today, the refrigerated car has been a popular material to find on many railways. It’s a simple type of car in that it is one that allows foods to be transported in a cooled environment. In fact, anything that has to be chilled can be transported in such a car. This will be used properly to ensure that items are protected no matter how far they have to travel in any particular site that has to use such items for general needs as required.
It’s amazing as to how this part of the railroads has changed over time. Today there are thousands of these cars in railways all around the world and they all serve their own purposes for transporting cold items with care.
How Can This Be Used?
A refrigerated car can work by using a number of useful materials. First, stainless steel or aluminum can be used on the outside to create an insulating surface.
Next, a proper unit will be available to help refrigerate items inside the car. Ice blocks are often added but some air conditioners and cold air blowers may also be used alongside ice deposits to help keep areas refrigerated for as long as possible.
An insulator will also go on the walls inside the car. This is to keep the cold air in and to prevent it from moving out of a space. If the temperature inside of the car is kept as consistent and under control as possible then it should be rather easy for the car to stay comfortable and to take in the right amount of cool air that the items inside it will require.
Can AC Units Work?
It’s true that a McQuay PTAC can be used to handle refrigerated cars as a McQuay PTAC can easily move air around. However, these PTAC units tend to be used in conjunction with other materials like ice and insulation to ensure that items are kept cold. Simply put, an air conditioner cannot do all of this work on its own. It has to be prepared with the other potential materials for managing to ensure that the air in a space will be kept as cold as desired.
Can Dry Ice Work?
While it is true that dry ice can keep different spaces cold and can really work well, it may not work right for most things. The problem is that dry ice, in addition to being hazardous, can impact the flavors and colors of foods while in transit. This can especially be the case if items are placed too closely to these foods. This can be a real threat that will negatively impact the quality of whatever is being transported at a given time.
The refrigerator car is a fascinating part of the railroads that all people might be interested in seeing today. This is something that works wonders ever since the days of the Wabash and is still used to day to ensure that items are kept cold while they are being transported for any use.
YouTube is being used for all kinds of purposes but sometimes the best purposes can entail the need to get people to act upon certain topics and to make some changes to the world. These include many changes that can be made for the betterment of society as a whole.
Part of this involves working with historic sites. The Wabash Railroad is one such example of something that has to be managed and potentially refurbished.
In particular, railway preservationists are going onto YouTube to get their messages out to more people. While some will buy YouTube likes to make their messages loud and clear, anyone can get their visions for preservation out to the public even if they are not going to buy YouTube likes.
Showing Present Sites Is Important
Many historic railroad sites tend to be neglected. They are run down and have become popular sites for vandals. Showing these sites as they are today can help encourage people to think about supporting railway preservation efforts.
Sometimes the visual image of a space will be more defining than just a description. It gives people the idea of how desolate something might be and how some historic sites might be in danger of being lost forever. Going onto YouTube to make appeals with regards to preservation can really be critical for all to explore.
Explain the History
YouTube videos can also give people a better explanation about the importance of such a site. Much of this involves how the rail system is a great link to the history of a site. Many parts of a rail system had been used for transporting people and goods in the days before vehicles for consumer use were commonplace. In many cases the rail system was the only connection that some places had to the outside world.
The history of the Wabash and other railroads is important for all to explore. By addressing this point on YouTube, historical societies will have a much easier time explaining what makes such railroads critical for all to get behind.
Details on how these sites are being used today can also be explained. Sometimes the history of a site may spill over to today as different places are often being maintained based on things like the ways how a property is used for storing items or even for transit purposes. The amazing thing is that some historic railroads are being used today for many purposes. The need to place an emphasis on this is important as it shows the average viewer that such railroads are still relevant to today’s society when all is said and done.
YouTube really can be a great place for railway preservation promotion. Preservationists are looking to use YouTube today to make people more interested in these railroads and to encourage support to protect many of these historical sites. If YouTube is used properly then people will certainly begin to discover the importance that comes with working to make the railroads more important to all those in society and to give everyone ideas on why they have to be managed the right way.