Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Train Movies

One of the most magical movies featuring at train is the Polar Express. It brings back the joy we felt as children waiting for Santa Claus. This makes it a remarkable movie that appeals to people of all ages. Even though it is a Christmas time movie, many people enjoy watching it anytime they want to feel carefree and happy. The movie is computer animated which gives it a very unique design.

The film Polar Express features one of the best actors around, Tom Hanks who plays five different characters. This film tells the story of only those who truly believe in Santa Clause can help save his ability to bring presents to children all over the world. The boy is asked to go to the North Pole with Santa Claus in an effort to show him what really exists there.

A great deal of the movie takes place on the Polar Express, the name of the locomotive that magically takes Santa Claus to and from the North Pole. The steam engine featured in the movie is based on a real one that is in a train museum known as the 1225.

Tom Cruise has been well known for various movies over the years, but none of them compare with the popularity of Mission Impossible. In fact, it has two very successful sequels under its belt. There is plenty of action in all of them, but the most memorable takes place in the first Mission Impossible movie. Cruise is seen in some tough stunts that he makes look realistic on the top of a speeding train.

Many of the early westerns feature amazing scenes with various types of trains in them. It isn’t uncommon for gunfights to be taking place on top of these moving trains. In fact, it is very possible that the scenes for that popular Mission Impossible movie were developed from this core idea that had been in the movies so many years ago.

Some movies don’t feature the train in them for very long, but the train still plays an important role in the movie. The Harry Potter series is very popular and you will find the children ride the train to and from Hogwarts at the beginning and the end of every movie. In many ways this train has become a trademark of the shows. It also signifies their movement from the normal world to the world of magic.

By the title, you may think the movie Derailed featuring Jennifer Aniston is going to be about a train disaster. Yet this is a very intriguing movie that details the delicate webs of lies and deceptions that can take place for money. Her character plays a manipulative woman who pretends to fall for married men on the commuter train. When they meet at a hotel room and intruder rapes her.

Later in the movie you find out the rapist is really her husband. Everything is a set up to make the men she meets on the trains feel sorry for her. They are also willing to give her money not to tell anyone about their affair, especially their wives. You will be on the edge of your seat watching the story unfold as it has many twists and turns.

Of course we can’t talk about train movies without including Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. This is a hilarious comedy with Steve Martin and John Candy. The story is about a businessman who is desperately trying to get home to spend Thanksgiving with his family.

There are plenty of movies out there featuring trains. Some people enjoy the entire movie and others place it on their favorites list simply for the action involving the trains itself. Trains are such an important part of our society and our global economy that it is only fitting they find their way onto the big screen to offer us quality entertainment.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dinner Trains

Going out to dinner with your partner or spouse is a great way to spend some time together. If you have jobs and children then you realize just how important it is for you to be able to spend some quality time alone enjoying each others company. To help make these dinners more romantic and memorable, consider a dinner train ride. They are offered from many locations all over the world.

If you don’t have one close by that you can take advantage of any time you want, plan a special trip to a destination that does offer dinner trains. If you have to go out of town for work or you will be spending time traveling for leisure, look up dinner trains online and see what is available in that area.

Most dinner trains offer an early meal as well as a late meal so you can schedule which every suits you the best. The food options are generally limited to a few main entrees, vegetarian meals, salads, and desserts. While you won’t find a full menu selection on most dinner trains you can expect to find some of the very best food around. You can call in advance to find out what they menu options are if you have any concerns.

Most dinner trains travel along very beautiful and romantic scenery. This should be something that determines which dinner train you want to take. If you enjoy a new adventure now and then take a dinner train along a route you have never been on before. You are sure to find plenty of amazing sites throughout your evening.

Some dinner trains are offered all year long depending on the routes they follow. Those that go through extremely cold areas with inclement weather often don’t operate in the winter months. They may offer a scenic train route during the day but not the dinner train option. You will need to call for this information or look online for it.

It is important to make your reservations for a dinner train in advance, especially if you don’t have one locally. This way you won’t be disappointed to discover there is no room left on the train for you. Some of them offer wonderful entertainment such as a play or music.

Others allow you to simply enjoy the evening so make sure you find out what options you have. This way you can plan the dinner train ride that is going to be the most rewarding for you. You may find a dinner train that offers a romantic terrace for you to view the scenery on or that offers dancing after dinner is just what you are looking for.

At the time when you make your dinner train reservations it is a good idea to find out about the attire for the evening. Many of them are casual dress but some of the fancier dinner train rides require you dress nicer for the evening. Finding out this information in advance will prevent you from feeling uncomfortable or out of place when you arrive.

The cost of a dinner train often depends on many factors. The more extravagant that they entertainment and the food is the more expensive it will be. Others are more moderately priced and they still offer you quality food and entertainment so you can have an amazing dining experience. If the dinner train is offered nightly then you will likely find the prices to be lower during the week. Most people will try to schedule the weekends and it is likely that the prices will reflect this demand. Look for special offers and discounts for dinner trains as well. They can be found in newspapers, magazines, and even online.

You will find dining on a dinner train to be a nice change from your usual evening out at a local restaurant. You may find this is an experience you want to have on a regular basis with someone you enjoy spending time with. There are plenty of great dinner train options so make sure you take your time to find the one that fits your dining needs as well as your budget.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The History Of Trains

Today you see trains carrying cargo and people all over the world. They are also used as efficient ways for people to commute to and from work instead of using the roadways. Looking at the efficiency of trains today, it is sometimes hard to imagine how different they were back in the 1800’s. While many different inventors attempted to create a train in the last 1700’s they weren’t successful.

In 1825 the first locomotive was successful in its attempt to safely transport people from two points in England. The popularity of this mode of transportation quickly made its way to the United States in 1830. It wasn’t long before the industrial revolution was born since trains could be used to transport materials faster and easier than ever before. By 1833 there were 380 miles of railroad tracks in the United States. Today there are more than 300,000 miles of track around the United States.

The United States government made good use of the trains during the Civil War to move troops to new locations and to get them supplies. This was the main reason behind adding more miles of railroad tracks from 1861 to 1865. By the end of the war there were more than 30,000 miles of track available.

By this time railroads were considered to be the main means of transportation. Plans were in place to continue building faster locomotives and to clear areas for more tracks to be put into place. These early trains were powered by coal and steam. This process of expansion in the railway industry continued into 1916 with more than 250,000 miles of track laid out in the United States.

One of the most historical locations along these miles of railroad tracks is in Utah, and identified by a spike made from pure gold. This was to celebrate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad. This particular location was the connecting point between the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads. This remains a historical site today with thousands of people visiting the very location of that golden spike.

Even with all the miles of railroad tracks by 1916, many of them are in poor condition. It is not uncommon for many trails to derail due to these conditions. Private owners of the railroads have invested so much money in expansion they can’t afford the repairs.

The repairs that do get done are the result of the United States government needing to repair them in order to move men and supplies during World War I. Even so, the growth of the railroad is significantly slowed forever around 1940. The Great Depression has made it difficult for the railroads to survive. There is also competition now with automobiles being manufactured.

Yet the railroad industry sees renewed life in the late 1950’s when the retired steam powered locomotives and replace them with diesel engines. In 1970 the United States government steps in again to take control of Amtrak. They still oversee it today but most of the miles of track that they operate on belong to other railway companies.

With modern technology, trains are able to operate more efficient today than ever. They are used to transport large amounts of merchandise, food supplies, equipment, hazardous materials, and even people. Trains offer a great way to get items delivered efficiently without having to place more of a burden on the trucking industry. Many travelers enjoy the convenience of taking a train instead of driving themselves or riding in an airplane.

There have been plenty of advances in the area of trains and the railway industry in the last 100 years. It will be interesting to know how things change over the next 100 years. Luckily there are wonderful train museums that take the time to preserve all of the history of trains from the beginning. This way future generations will be able to look back on it as well.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Training Crossing Safety Tips

One of the most common types of train accidents happens when vehicle are attempting to cross the train tracks while a train is in the area. There are signals that are to be activated when a train is approaching a crossing, but they have been known to malfunction from time to time. Many people don’t pay attention to them either as they assume if they can’t see the train they still have time to get across the tracks.

It is a good idea to always stop at any train crossing just in case the signals aren’t working properly. Take the time to look and to listen for a train approaching. If you have any indication that one may be coming your way, don’t attempt to cross the tracks. You don’t want to take such a risk. If there are no gates present at the train crossing you should stay behind the painted line on the road. This way you aren’t in the line of rocks or other debris being thrown your way as the train passes by.

The number of people who don’t pay attention to the signals at a train crossing is unbelievable. They often believe they can beat the train and they don’t want to be held up waiting for it to cross in front of it. While some people have been able to successfully beat the train, others aren’t so lucky. The impact from a train in that type of scenario is too much to walk away from without injuries or death occurring. Your life if worth more than a few minutes of your time.

It is important to realize that there may be a second train closely behind the first. Many train related accidents occur when people at the signal lights decide to go forward even though the lights are still flashing. They assume that since the train has completely gone by them they are safe to proceed. Don’t put yourself at risk of being hit by another train that my be following behind the other one.

You may think it only happens in the movies, but occasionally vehicles due die out as a person is going across the railroad tracks. Don’t sit there and try to get it across. Instead you need to get out of the car and a safe distance away. Use a phone to call the local police department so they can notify the railway company about the incident.

Approximately every 90 minutes there is a train wreck in the United States involving a train and a vehicle. Don’t let the next one involve you when it is very easy to protect yourself against such accidents. Remember that it takes a train approximately one mile of distance to be able to stop when they are traveling at a speed of 55 miles per hour.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Future Of Trains

Trains have certainly made advances since they were first introduced in the 1800’s. Many people wonder about the future of trains. There are many different ideas about them. Some researchers believe we will be going back to steam locomotives in the near future as they are better for the environment and we won’t be wasting our natural resources. With the technology available today, these new steam locomotives will be much more advanced than those of the past.

Others believe trains will soon be something we no longer use for transporting goods or people. Of course this was the thought about trains back in the 1990’s when it was believed that by 2000 we would have cars that flew around and space shuttle trips for common folks to the moon and back. The people with this mentality in relationship to trains simply don’t realize that they are responsible for transporting thousands of tons of material and millions of people annually.

You can be assured that trains will still be with us in the future but as technology continues to grow there will be plenty of changes. There is plenty of focus on making trains safer for hauling dangerous chemicals and nuclear waste. This is to protect people in the event of a train wreck or a terrorist attack. Most of the focus has shifted to providing protective boxcars that won’t allow access without codes and that are durable even if the train ends up being in a wreck.

All of the railways continue to strive for safer trains on the tracks out there. Even with all we know today there are still numerous accidents involving trains derailing or hitting cars that shouldn’t have been crossing at that point.

Safety features that ensure all signals are working properly at railway crossings will continue to improve. You will also find technology allows the trains to move faster and haul more materials so that fewer trains have to be in operation in order to meet the issues of supply and demand.

As a result of this, the job outlook for train engineers and other crew members will decrease. This is one area of industry that has a ten year forecast with less people being added to the workforce. Computer technology will allow more of the actual train operations to be done by the equipment. The materials used to create the tracks continues to improve so there are fewer repairs that have to be done on a regular basis.

One idea that is being used in various areas is the use of magnets to actually hold the train in place above the train tracks. There are test tracks in Germany and Japan that have been able to travel at speeds over 300 miles per hour. There is still plenty of research that needs to be done in this area but should magnetic levitation prove to be safe and efficient it could significantly impact the railway industry.

Yet many in the train industry believe the focus should be on being able to haul heavier amounts of material at one time instead of focusing on increased speeds. You also have the concerns that engineers can manipulate the train out of the way of cars, animals on the tracks, or dangerous areas where the train isn’t in good condition. The chances of trains being in a wreck at 330 miles per hour without serious injuries or death just isn’t practice. There is also the concern about how much damage would be done to the materials on board.

It will be very interesting to look at trains 10, 20, or 50 years from now and compare them to what we know now. Trains have a rich history that is a very important part of the global economy. This isn’t something that is going to change any time soon. If anything you will find the train industry becoming more successful as they continue to implement positive changes.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Grand Central Terminal

In New York City you will find Grand Central Terminal which is a famous landmark in reference to train stations. The terminal that is in place today was built in 1913 and it was built specifically for electric powered trains. Many people visit Grand Central Terminal today not to ride a train, but to take a look at the various architectural designs it has to offer. The most popular features include the marble staircase that never seems to lose its beauty. There are also numerous windows in the terminal that are 75 feet tall. You may end up bumping into many people while you are at the terminal because many of them walk around with their heads facing the ceiling due to the amazing paintings on it. There are plenty of starts up there where you will quickly forget where you really are at.

One of the reasons why this is such a busy train station to day is because there are so many large corporate offices and businesses in the area. It is very easy for businessmen to take a train to the Grand Central Terminal and then walk the remaining distance so their place of employment or for a meeting taking place in one of the area business locations.

If you find yourself at the Grand Central Terminal for any length of time you can enjoy one of the coffee shops or restaurants. There are also a couple of bars where you can enjoy a drink. There is an excellent selection of casual dining as well as fine dining in the Grand Central Terminal.

Don’t forget to check out the market offered at the terminal as well. Here you will find an amazing selection of fresh fruits and vegetables for sale. There are also fresh coffee beans, baked goods, prime cuts of meat, quality cheeses, and chocolate delights that are made right in front of your eyes. This is a very colorful and fun place to explore when you visit the Grand Central Terminal.

Many people want to the terminal in order to shop as there are over 50 shops featured there. In these shops you will find clothing, shoes, electronics, toys, a small museum, luggage, books, beauty supplies, and even locations to get your hair and nails done. You can literally spend days at Grand Central Terminal doing nothing but shopping and pampering yourself.

For some fun while you are visiting the terminal, make sure you visit the Whispering Gallery. Due to the architectural design of the terminal there is a place where you can whisper and it will echo loud like you are shouting. This is due to the various dynamic acoustics in that area of the terminal. The curved layout of the ceiling offers just the right elements necessary to allow this to happen.

There are plenty of different events that take place at Grand Central Terminal throughout the year. They offer a splendid holiday d├ęcor that you will fall in love with. In addition to the many shops in the terminal, vendors are allowed to set up their booths to sell wonderful handmade crafts and Christmas ornaments. They also offer plenty of free entertainment and host art shows during the year to help support the arts. You can easily access a calendar of events for the Grand Central Terminal online.

Today Grand Central Terminal is considered to be a historical landmark. There has been plenty of money invested in it to preserve the beauty of this remarkable train station. If you haven’t seen it you need to put it on your list of places to visit while in New York City.

If you have ever heard the term Grand Central Station, this is in reference to the subway system found beneath the Grand Central Terminal. This is an icon of the hustle and bustle of New York City. Every effort has been made to preserve it and to honor the vitality of the train industry.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Train Museums

The emergence of trains played a significant role in the industrial revolution. With the advances in technology that took place over time, trains have become faster and more fuel efficient. Yet there is a place in our history books for those older model locomotives. It is also very interesting to discover the history behind trains in more ways than just reading about them.

If you are interested in the history of trains, you may find a visit to one of many train museums offers you plenty of information as well as great pieces of older equipment to look at. Technology has come a long way in regards to trains, and it can be fascinating to take a look back at the various types of tracks and trains from a century ago.

In addition to seeing those old time locomotives, you can see the actual materials that they train tracks were once made from. Hours and hours of hard work went into men digging the area with shovels to lay the materials for the train tracks. While the process is somewhat easier today, there is still plenty of hard work that goes into building, repairing, and maintaining railroad tracks.

If you live in the California area, you will find many of the very best train museums are featured around the state. The Golden Gate Railroad Museum, located in Redwood City, is a non-profit museum dedicated to preserving the history of steam locomotives and the history of trains around the San Francisco area.

In the heart of Golden, Colorado you will find another one of the best train museums. They offer more than 100 different historical locomotives and boxcars from various eras. This is also one of the oldest train museums as it was established in 1959.

One of the oldest and largest train museums is found in Cairo, Egypt. It is simply called the Rail Museum and it was founded in 1933. This particular train museum continues to be upgraded and expanded to offer as much history about the train industry as possible. There are more than 700 items on display here including locomotives, train parts, rails, documents, and early maps of the first railway routes.

Taking a close and personal look at the history of trains on display at the various museums will give you a new appreciation for this particular mode of transporting both people and materials. It is hard to believe when you look at the trains of today that that the concepts behind them almost didn’t get off the ground in the 1800’s. No one really believed it would become a viable way to get around the world. Today more than 60 million people travel on trains annually and there are more than 300,000 miles of track.

The internet is a great resource for helping you to locate the different train museums you may want to visit. You can find out about the various exhibits they offer, the cost of admission, hours of operation, and directions. If you travel often for business or pleasure you may want to choose a couple of great train museums to see during your free time. There are hundreds of great train museums located around the world so it is nice to know you won’t have to travel to just one specific location in order to take a trip back in time.