Man's physical universe



grades, and in tunnels, where its lack of smoke and gases and fire hazard

makes its use worth while.

The railroads have introduced quiet, well-lighted, comfortable, and

even luxurious, air-conditioned trains. They have also increased the

speed of both freight and passenger trains and decreased their rates.

One of their great achievements has been that of increasing the safety

of transportation. Railroads have greatly improved their freight

service by operating fleets of trucks which make possible door-to-door


By 1940 there were 1200 mile-a-minute runs in the United States,

while the speed of freight trains had increased 62 per cent since 1920.

In 1940 there were 11,715 air-conditioned passenger cars in operation.

With less than 6 per cent of the world's land area and with less than

6 per cent of the world's population, the continental United States

has 31.2 per cent of the world's railroad mileage.

If all railway bridges in the United States were strung together,

they would reach from San Diego, California, to St. Johns, Newfoundland.

The longest railway tunnel in the United States is the Cascade

Tunnel, through the Cascade Mountains in Washington, 7.79 miles

in length. Boring was started simultaneously from both ends, and

when the construction forces met in the center they were only a fraction

of a foot out of alignment — that is engineering.

The railroads created standard time in 1883, thus abolishing more

than fifty different times in the United States; four standards. Eastern,

Central, Mountain, and Pacific were adopted in their place.

The First Self-propelled Highway Vehicles Were Operated by Steam


In the period between 1828 and 1838, Walter Hancock built and

operated six steam carriages in England that covered 4200 miles and

carried 12,761 persons without accident or delay during a period of

three months. Rural England was conservative, however, and the

horse-drawn coach and toll-road interests combined in opposing newfangled

vehicles. Even as late as 1865 an act was passed by Parliament

which decreed that no power vehicle could be used on a highway unless

it was preceded by a man on foot carrying a red flag. Even in France,

where the public was favorable to self-propelled vehicles, the speed

limit was four miles per hour in the country.

There was no opposition to the development of self-propelled vehicles

in America, but the lack of good roads made them impractical.

1871 Dr. J. N. Carhart built a steam buggy, but it was just one of a


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