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Challenging Steam: Early Electric Railways [Historical]
IEEE Industrial Electronics Magazine  (IF6.625),  Pub Date : 2021-09-28, DOI: 10.1109/mie.2021.3093944
Massimo Guarnieri

Today, electrical traction constitutes the most successful railway technology, but during the 19th century, the situation was quite different. Steam, produced by burning coal, was the dominant energy vector for transportation. Steam railways experienced a period of sensational development from 1830 to 1875, with frenetic construction in the Western world, and by the last quarter of the century, they had revolutionized the transportation of goods and people, enabling long distances to be covered in much shorter times than with horse-drawn coaches traveling on unpaved roads. Thus, they changed the concepts of distance and travel.