Rail Nation through History: Part 3

Era 5:

Around 1919 – 2013

All of a sudden, it’s quiet. Only the view outside tells you that you’re still travelling. The landscape flies by at high speed. Your seat is more comfortable than ever. Welcome to modernity!

The engines are now powered by electricity and resemble technological master pieces. Skyscrapers tower above our train station. Architecture is dominated by glass.

But first, let’s move back to the 1950s, where the important foundations of the modern engine can be traced back to. In 1955, the French production series SNCF BB 9004 sets a world speed record for rail vehicles, at 331 km/h – truly an incredible speed at the time.

The BB 7200, built until 1985, also comes from France. The characteristic front by the designer Paul Arzens earned her the nickname ‘Nez Cassé’, which translates as ‘Broken Nose’.

One of the most distinctive production series in Rail Nation is the pair of Crocodiles that were built from 1919, but which remained in regular service until the 1980s. The Ce 6/8, the original Crocodile, was mainly designed in Switzerland for heavy cargo duty on the steep Gotthard railway.

The ‘German Crocodile’, featuring as the Leviathan production series in Rail Nation, remains in active service until the 1990s, before railway companies eventually phase it out. However, the preserved engines do still serve as a store of spare parts or as museum exhibits.

Another eye-catcher from this time is the TGV Sud-Est with its distinctively orange paint. The high-speed train from the first generation of the TGV series is used mainly on the route between Paris and Lyon, before being phased out in 2013.

Era 6:

Around 1994 – today

We enter a tunnel. You take a sip of your hot drink and lean back. The bright light blinds you for a second as the train exits the tunnel, but then you see the new scenery. You’re travelling through a huge megacity. Left and right of you, slightly futuristic buildings fly by. You have reached the final era in Rail Nation.

Exactly since the beginning of the 21st century, the Bombardier Traxx is developed and is meanwhile in active service in 17 different countries. The 145er series has also been spotted in Rail Nation.

Moreover, the first Chinese engine in Rail Nation can be found here: the China Railways HXD2 that was designed based on the French Alstom Prima.

The real jaw-droppers of this most modern era can be found among the passenger trains and locomotives. It starts with the Pendolino, the flagship of the Polish railway association PKP. The engine is manufactured by the French company Alstom. In 2014, PKP introduces the latest generation. Unfortunately, the train cannot make full use of its power in Poland, as the speed is limited to 200 km/h there.

The Sapsan, used in Russia, is built by the German company Siemens and is based on the ICE 3 of the Deutsche Bahn. It is adapted to the Russian broad gauge and the particular climatic conditions in the region.

The Shinkansen is an evolution of the experimental train FASTECH 360 from 2005. Both the prototype, as well as the series, have a streamlined design to prevent the piston effect in tunnels in particular.

Eventually, your train slows down and enters the train station. You get to your feet, stretch your arms and legs, and leave your cabin. We hope you enjoyed the ride and – just like us – are excited to see where the future of the locomotive takes us.