The danger of rail

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A wonderful quote turned up on the website: The Ponderings of Woodrow: on a blog post about bad predictions:

"Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as 'railroads' ... As you may well know, Mr. President, 'railroad' carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by 'engines' which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed." -- Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1830

Another from a page: Famous Authoritative Pronouncements

"Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia."
Dionysius Lardner, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London, and author of The Steam Engine Explained and Illustrated

Finally:
Great Quotes from Great Skeptics

"What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?"
- The Quarterly Review, England (March 1825)

1 Comment

Quite amusing! I wonder what they would have said about seeing an N-scale train locomotive moving at the equivalent of nearly 60 MPH ? On my son's train set, that's what we've calculated the speed. Imagine the poor passengers then? :-)

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on April 10, 2008 3:21 PM.

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