Trains played quite a role in settling the United States. Once railroads were built to the western states, people had a much easier time moving out there and populating the region. Some of the trains used on these Old West railroads are still around, and you can ride them at tour stops and museums. Here are some of the key things you can learn by riding on an Old West train.
How The Trains Worked
The trains of yesteryear were very different from those used today. These Old West trains were mostly steam locomotives. Coal was burned to heat water, and the water turned into steam as it boiled. The steam powered the engine that drove the train along. When you ride on an Old West train, you will typically get an inside look into how that train works. Some tour groups may show you the coal furnace and boiler before you step on the train, and then as you ride, you'll be aware of how the motion is being generated.
What It Was Like to Ride in The Train for Days
Your ride on the Old West train may last an hour or two. During this short time, you won't be too uncomfortable. However, you will get an idea of how uncomfortable you would be if you were to spend several days on the train, as passengers often did when riding out West. The hard seats, small train cars, and lack of actual bathrooms give you a real appreciation for what settlers endured in the early days of the U.S.
How the Railroads Were Built
As you ride along on the train, you can expect the tour guide to tell you a bit about the railroad the train is running on, too. You can learn how these railroads were built and how so many people lost their lives in the building of the railroads. Your tour guide may even tell you some personalized stories, giving you insight into the lives of railway workers.
How the West Was Settled
The point of having trains ride out West was to bring settlers to the area. So, it only makes sense that as you ride on the train, your tour guide will tell you a bit more about how the West was settled and what drew people to the area.
Riding on an Old West train is an excellent experience, and it's one that will teach you about diverse topics — not just trains. Check out local places that offer an Old West train ride to learn more about these topics.