A word that comes from the word, "Locomotion," which means moving from place to place. For more than 100 years the steam locomotive was the chief source of power on railroads all over the world. Large and small locomotives were designed for different jobs like to pull passenger trains at high speeds, for passenger service and for switching duty.
Today the diesel, electric, and gas-turbine
locomotives have taken over and only a few steam locomotives are
still being used.
Hopper cars were open-topped cars with high sides
and ends. Their bottom has hoppers or chutes that can be opened. The
grain, flour, or cement would fall down into storage bins beneath the
The flatcars were open platforms that were used
for carrying lumber, steel beams, and bulky equipment such as
tractors and rack cars for automobiles and many other kinds of
The tank cars were round steel tanks that were
used for liquids like fuel, water, oil, gasoline, chemicals, milk and
The boxcars were the most important type of
freight cars. It carried flour, canned food, clothing, refrigerators,
grain, and other goods that needed protection from the weather. There
were more boxcars than any other type of rail cars. It was an
enclosed, windowless car with a sliding door on each side. It was
formerly built of wood but today is built of steel.
The caboose was a little car at the end of the
train where crew members would observe the cars ahead for defects,
process the train's paper work, operate track switches, monitor the
air-brake system to see if it was functioning throughout the train,
observe if the train was moving or stopped as intended by the
engineer, and apply the brakes in an emergency. They also carried
marker lights to warn following trains.
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