Today's high-speed trains travel at almost two hundred miles an hour, so it is hard for twenty-first century passengers to imagine the fear induced by the speed of trains in the 1800s. The locomotive in this photograph would have traveled at the bone-jarring speed of about eighteen miles an hour. When trains were first introduced, many people were reluctant to ride on them. Some even believed that they were the work of the devil. The steam, smoke, and sparks emitted from the belly of these monsters caused a great deal of anxiety for timid souls. Eventually people grew accustomed to the invention and happily traveled for days on trains pulled by steam engines like this Central Pacific Railroad locomotive.
Gift of Weston J. and Mary M. Naef