The railway mode of land transportation consists
of one or more tracks, each having two parallel steel nails which move freight and passengers. Cars are pulled or pushed
by a locomotive. On May 10, 1869, the first transcontinental route was
created when the Union Pacific Railroad Company met Central Pacific. It
was a big step in the development of the west. This event represented,
for the first time, the means for items to be quickly moved between the
east and west coast.
There are three types of fueling
railway systems: electric, steam, and diesel electric. The steam and
electric were common in the early days. The diesel electric is common
today; but there is a push toward electric, which is non-polluting.
Steam engine - Carries own water
supply for steam generation and can use either coal, oil or wood for
heating the boiler.
Electric - Locomotive is not self
sufficient - electric current is picked up from either an overhead
conductor wire or a third rail mounted alongside the running rail. This
is the most economical and efficient means of transportation, providing
the traffic justifies the capitol expenditure. Electric is quieter and
Diesel electric - Electricity is
generated by diesel generators on the locomotive.
Imagine being a child and riding
on one of these trains!
- Tell students about the "Ophan
Train." You can find more information by doing an Internet search
on "Orphan Trains." There are several sites with stories of
the different children’s experience.
The Orphan Train movement
began in 1854 and continued until 1930. During this 75 year time span,
somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless
children were sent "west" from New York on trains to find new
families. There were two main organizations that "shipped"
children west to new homes. They were: 1) The Children's Aid Society run
by Rev.Charles Loring Brace, and 2) The New York Founding Hospital,
operated by the Sisters of Charity.
It was hoped by these organizations,
that by sending these "orphans" out west to find new
"families" they would have a better chance of leading a happy
and productive life, than if left to fend for themselves on the streets
of New York. Both of these charitable organizations are still in
operation today. The first Kansas_bound Orphan Train arrived in the
state in 1867, and the last Kansas train arrived in 1930 (the same year
the Orphan Train movement officially ceased operations). During that
time, it is estimated that between 5,000 and 6,O00 children were placed
in Kansas homes. Some of these children were adopted by their new Kansas
families, but many were not.
- Ask the students to travel in the
shoes of these children. Have them write a paragraph on what it felt
like to be on a train for the first time and leaving a world behind and
traveling to a new experience.
Remember the trains in 1854 were steam, and the ones in 1930 were