Trains are built to transport passengers or cargo along rail tracks.
There are all kinds of different trains that are built for a range of purposes and environments.
Trains can be powered by a variety of energy sources including steam, diesel and electricity.
Early trains relied on ropes, horses or gravity.
The use of steam locomotives developed through the 19th century before diesel and electric locomotives began to replace them in the 20th century.
Cargo trains are typically powered by a locomotive which pulls from the front.
Some trains have a second locomotive which helps by pushing from the back.
Passenger trains often feature self-propelled carriages (multiple units) that can be joined with other units. Trains such as these are more energy efficient but may require more maintenance than a single locomotive vehicle.
Some high speed rail services can reach speeds over 300 kph (186 mph).
In operation since 1964, Japan’s Shinkansen (bullet train) is a well known example of a high speed passenger rail system.
Opened in 1994, the Channel Tunnel carries passengers between the UK and France on a high speed railway.
Technologies such as magnetic levitation may provide faster, more efficient train travel in the future. Magnetic levitation propels trains forward using magnets, keeping the vehicle levitated but close to the track.
Monorails feature a single rail and are often elevated above ground.
Funicular (or venicular) railways feature two cars/trams attached by cables that counterbalance each other as they move up and down a steep slope.
There are many train enthusiasts around the world interested in everything from rail history to famous train journeys, model trains, railway photography and other hobbies related to railways.
You may have heard of Thomas the Tank Engine, a popular character from British television and literature. Thomas is a small steam locomotive who starred in the children’s television series with a variety of other railway friends.