Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Posts tagged “railroad

The second railway station of Bruges; ca. 1890


It was built in 1886, to replace the first railway station that was built in Classical style (the old one was moved to Ronse, because it’s the third oldest in the world).

It was decided in 1899 that this one was a nuisance to the neighbourhood, since it cut off the Western part of Bruges. The works for a new railway station outside the city started in 1910, but were delayed by the first world war. Only in 1936 was the third railway station finished.

Ten years later the second building (this one) was demolished.

Montparnasse derailment, Paris; ca. 1895


“This incredible photo of the wreck at Gare Montparnasse in Paris shows a very dramatic scene of a train that has crashed through the wall and partially tumbled to the street. The cause? Both mechanical failure and human error. The train was late, so the driver had it pull into the station at a high speed. It had two different types of braking systems: handbrakes and an air brake known as a Westinghouse brake. The conductor realised that the train was going too fast and applied the Westinghouse brake, however it didn’t work. He then waited too long to use the handbrakes, which weren’t sufficient due to the weight and speed of the train. The locomotive crashed through a wall and the first few cars fell towards the street below. Amazingly, only a few passengers and train employees were injured, though one pedestrian on the road below was killed.”

[More Information]

A Pennsylvania Railroad I1 Class #4525 (weighing in at over 386,000 pounds) being hoisted up at the railroad’s Altoona Works; date unknown.


The Pennsylvania Railroad’s I1 Class were the largest 2-10-0 “decapod” type locomotives ever built in the United States. With a tractive effort of between 90000 and 96000 pounds-force, the locomotive was designed specifically for the Pennsy’s heavy-duty trackage.

However, the I1s were considered a nightmare by their crews as they were rough-riding and their small driving wheels and lack of counterweights made them prone to slipping. Despite this, almost 600 would be built between 1916-1923 and would remain in service as one of the more dominant freight locomotives until the railroad ended all steam operations in 1957.

(This website has tons of pictures from the PRR’s Altoona Works throughout the era of steam and into today as the area is still being used by the Norfolk Southern Railroad.)

A Native American man inspects the newly completed transcontinental railroad, 1868.

rUcWI (1)

There goes the neighborhood.


If you’re every up for a REALLY depressing read on the history of the US — read Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States”