From horseback to maglev. A brief excursion into the history of public transport

When the omnibus became a familiar bus

For the first time, they tried to launch public urban transport in 1662. The mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal developed a system of horse-drawn carriages that traveled the streets of Paris on schedule. But this transport was forbidden to use by soldiers, pages and other people in uniform – all for the comfort of the privileged classes. This state of affairs caused discontent, interest in the crews began to fade, and they were soon abolished.

A better story took shape in the 1820s. At this time, omnibuses appeared in France – multi-seat horse-drawn carts. About 25 people could ride in such transport. To increase the number of passengers, they were placed not only in the cabin, but also on the roof.

Buses in their usual form began to appear after the auto industry began to produce cars with internal combustion engines. The first was introduced by the German factory “Benz” in 1895. From a technical point of view, the bus was a converted model of a passenger car equipped with a landau body – the top opened over the rear seats. The transport received an engine with a capacity of 5 horsepower. It could accommodate only eight people, including the driver.

In Russia, the first buses entered the routes in Arkhangelsk and St. Petersburg in 1907. In honor of such an event, a message was printed in the Petersburg Leaflet:

By 12 o’clock in the afternoon, an omnibus car, or, as they are now called, a bus, arrived at the Alexander Garden, opposite Voznesensky Prospekt.

How the electric tram replaced the horse tram

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The ride on the classic omnibus was not very pleasant: on bumpy roads without asphalt, it shook a lot. This problem was solved in the USA in 1832. The crew with horses came up with the idea of putting on rails. Such transport provided a smoother ride and less resistance to movement. Gradually, horse-drawn railways spread throughout Europe.

In Russia, the first horse-drawn tram was built in St. Petersburg in 1854. And almost two decades later, she appeared in Moscow.

The horses were very popular. For example, in the same New York, there were 297 trips per resident per year. But the transport had a serious drawback: the horses left a lot of manure. Flies that carried infectious diseases bred in it. As a result, outbreaks of typhoid fever and intestinal infections in children occurred in New York.

With the advent of electricity, transport workers from different countries began to work on the creation of electric trams. In the 1880s they were already in France, Germany, Great Britain and the USA. It was easy to replace horse cars with them – trams used existing rails, but could carry more passengers. Today, there is only one operating horse-drawn railway in the world. It is located in the capital of the Isle of Man, Douglas, and operates during the warm season.

The first passenger transport did not differ in speed and convenience. But today, citizens can be offered truly comfortable transportation. For example, a tourist bus for people with disabilities appeared in Kaliningrad. The seats in it are easily removed, which allows you to accommodate tourists using wheelchairs in the cabin. The bus is equipped with all the necessary equipment: a lift, chargers for gadgets and electric wheelchairs, special seat belts.

Why one rail is good, but two is better

At the beginning of the 19th century, in parallel with trams and trains, transport developed, which uses one load-bearing rail above or below the wagon. It is believed that the monorail was invented and implemented in 1820 by Russian Ivan Elmanov. But the technology was patented a year later by another inventor, Henry Palmer from England. The first designs were slow and unreliable. For example, in 1878 a steam monorail began operating between Gilmour and Bradford in Pennsylvania. But after an accident in which several people died, the route was closed.

More successful was the attempt of the German engineer Eugen Langen. In 1901, according to his project, a monorail suspension road was launched , which connected Wuppertal and Dresden. The route is still used by up to 85 thousand passengers a day. There are monorails in other countries as well. For example, the largest Tokyo monorail transports more than 240 thousand people on weekdays. But in Russia, transport has not taken root. The only branch works in Moscow, but they want to close it every now and then. Before the pandemic, only 2.7 thousand people a day traveled on the monorail.

By the way, there is another interesting type of transport – maglev. The idea of maglev trains dates back to the 1900s, but they were not introduced into commercial use until 80 years later. Maglevs “float” in the air, held by an electromagnetic field. Due to the absence of friction, such transport can reach tremendous speeds. For example, in China a couple of years ago they introduced a maglev that accelerates to 600 km / h. In Moscow, magnetic levitation cars began to be tested last year.

Where was the first subway built?

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The idea of an underground road appeared in the 19th century, when the congestion of the streets of big cities increased. And the implementation became possible thanks to the inventor Mark Brunel, who in 1818 came up with a tunneling shield – a metal structure used for the construction of tunnels. The invention was successfully used when laying the world’s first underwater tunnel, under the Thames in London.

In 1863, a new form of transport appeared in the capital of the British Empire – the underground.

Initially, steam locomotives were used in the subway, burning coke, and then coal. But already in 1890 the first electric road started working . Today, the London Underground has grown to 11 lines with a length of 402 km and transports up to 1.17 billion passengers a year. Gradually, the metro was mastered in other cities – by the end of the 19th century, underground lines were already operating in Budapest, Paris, and Boston.

In the USSR, the first branch was opened in 1935 in Moscow. The train was moving along the line “Sokolniki” – “Park Kultury”. From the Okhotny Ryad station there was a branch – to the Smolenskaya station. Construction was not easy. For example, at the Krasnye Vorota, Chistye Prudy, and Lubyanka stations, the ground was heavily saturated with water. Engineer Nikolai Trupak suggested freezing it: a cooled solution was fed into the well, and only after the appearance of an ice-ground wall did work begin. By the way, the Chistye Prudy station was built without a full-fledged central hall – because of the same groundwater. And it acquired its modern look after reconstruction in 1971.

Why balloons and airships “did not take off”

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People have dreamed of flying since ancient times. Sketches of aircraft were created in the 15th century by Leonardo da Vinci. There are drawings in his archives that resemble a propeller. But in reality, the inventors managed to take to the air much later.

In 1782, the Montgolfier brothers noticed that the heated air inside the bag caused it to move upward. Soon they presented to the public their invention – a balloon. At first, the launches took place without people on board, but already in November 1783, passengers rose above the ground – Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent D’Arlande. By the way, a few years later de Rozier tried to fly across the English Channel. But the balloon caught fire in the air – its passenger became the first person to die in a plane crash.

Nevertheless, experiments with flights continued. In 1852, French inventor Henri Giffard built the first airship. Unlike a hot air balloon, which flew only downwind, the airship could be directed in the right direction. And yet, the first designs were not very strong and reliable, because regular flights were not made until the advent of the internal combustion engine.

For passenger transportation, airships began to be used at the beginning of the 20th century. For example, by 1914, aircraft built by the German inventor Ferdinand von Zeppelin had made 1,588 successful flights and carried more than 34,000 people. And in 1928 , the first commercial flight across the Atlantic took place. The flight from Germany to the USA took more than four days. Traveling on airships was quite comfortable – advanced models had a restaurant and rooms for passengers.

Unfortunately, several high-profile plane crashes have seriously affected the reputation of these air giants. In 1937, 36 people died in the crash of the Hindenburg. And although there have been larger accidents in the history of airships, it was this one that received a wide response. Interest in such aircraft began to decline, and gradually they were replaced by aircraft. Airships are rarely used today. Mainly for recreational flying.

How a wooden plane conquered the sky

Aircraft developed in parallel with airships, but at first they were not very popular. In 1903, brothers Wilber and Orville Wright built the first internal combustion engine aircraft. The parts were made of spruce and ash, and the engine developed about 12.5 horsepower in a few seconds. Successful tests took place on December 17 of the same year – on the first attempt, the plane stayed in the air for 12 seconds and overcame 36 m. The brothers improved the design and two years later they could stay in the sky for up to 39 minutes, fly in circles and perform other maneuvers. And in 1908, Wilber Wright lifted the first passenger into the air.

Following the Wrights, other engineers began to create their own aircraft. In 1909, the French aviator Louis Blériot crossed the English Channel for the first time in his monoplane Blériot XI. This flight showed that aircraft can be used not only for the entertainment of the public, but also as a full-fledged vehicle. And already in 1914, the first commercial airline in the United States was opened – between St. Petersburg and Tampa. The 20-30s can be called the heyday of civil aviation. During this period, airlines appeared in the UK, France, the Netherlands and Germany. Some of them, such as KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa, are still in operation.

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