Rail transport is a type of land transport, which moves people or goods through railways, generally made up of two rails.
Therefore, we are talking about the transport of goods and people that is carried out in trains. In this sense, passenger and freight trains. Well, they are usually separated, while their speeds are different.
Rail transport is managed by tracks, which connect between train stations on all continents.
Likewise, we can consider rail transport that we use within the city, since it is also articulated by means of roads that are above or below the city. In this sense, we are referring to trams and subways, which, by tracks, transport millions of people daily around the world.
This type of land transport was decisive for the expansion of trade throughout history. The construction of the railway network itself, in economic history, was decisive for the economic future of the countries. Inasmuch as these infrastructures were oriented to trade and economic expansion, and less to the interests of the Government, the growth registered by the economies was greater.
Characteristics of rail transport
This is a type of land transport and the most common vehicle is the train.
A train can be seen as a single element or as a set of elements connected to each other. This, given that at the head of the train there is always the locomotive or cockpit that controls the wagons or containers.
Railroad tracks can indicate one or two directions. However, the vehicle can only travel in one direction at a time.
Given its disadvantages, rail transport is a multimodal or intermodal transport par excellence. In other words, it is perfectly complemented by other types of transport, such as other types of land transport or maritime transport.
Some examples of rail transport are as follows:
- Metro or subway.
- Trolley car.
- Cable car.
Advantages and disadvantages of rail transport
Next, let's see the advantages and disadvantages of this type of transport. So, let's start with the benefits.
Advantages of rail transport
Some of the advantages of rail transport are the following:
- Speed: Normally these trains can move at high speeds, far surpassing other types of land transport. Also, since the train has to move on the rails, the movement is faster by generating less friction.
- Volume: They are also capable of moving large volumes of goods.
- Distance: When the layout of the tracks allows it, this type of transport can link long distances with different stations.
- Costs: Rates or freight tend to be cheaper than other systems.
Disadvantages of rail transport
On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of this transport system are the following:
- Flexibility: The movement of the trains is limited exclusively to the kilometers of railway construction. Similarly, track failures cut the system connection while maintaining the interruption. Finally, goods and people can only be transported to the stations, door-to-door service is not possible.
- Less frequent: Intended to transport large volumes, the units are smaller than other means of transport. As a result, it generally operates on tight schedules.
- Safety: The potential risk of serious incidents is greater, since a failure in the tracks could cause the derailment of the train. However, compared to air or sea transport, incident handling is faster and easier.
- Investment: It presents a high initial capital requirement for the construction of the infrastructure.
Impact of rail transport on the environment
This transportation system is limited to the length and structure of the roads.
Consequently, this has allowed the development of technology to make a transition towards electrical systems with the use of clean energy. In other words, friendlier to the environment.
However, in principle they used the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, to function.