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Modes of Transportation: Difference between Railway Transport and Road Transport

Modes of transportation: This article is about different modes of transportationforms of transportation,  and the difference between Railway transport and Road transport.

A human being has always remained surrounded by the three basics mediums known as land, water, air.  The modes of transportation are also connected with these three mediums. Land is used  for the development of road and rail transport, while water and air have developed waterways and airways respectively. Thus these are four different modes of transportation as follows:

  1. Roadways 
  2. Railways
  3. Waterways
  4. Airways

1. Roadways:

Roadways are the modes of transportation on land. This system includes streets, feeder roads and village roads, catering for a wide range of vehicles and the pedestrians along with the modern highway system.

Transportation by road is the only mode which can give maxium service to one and all . This mode of transportation has themaxiumflexibility for travel with respect to route, direction, time and speed of travel etc. It is possible to provide door service by this mode of transportation only.

2. Railways :

Railways are steel tracks laid on the ground,over which the trains move. Railways have been developed both for long as well as for short distances and for urban travels. Transportation by railway system is advantageous for longer distances.

The railways system could serve as arteries for transportation by land and the road system as a feeder system for transportation to the interior parts and to the intermediate localities between two railway stations.

The train can move at much higher speeds than pneumatic tyre vehicles on modern highways. Steel track can also take heavy axle load about three to four times heavier than the road. The energy required

To haul a unit load through a unit distance by railway is about 16% in compasrision to road transport. Thus full advantage should be taken of this mode of Transporetation where ever it is available.


3. Waterways.

This mode of transportation includes oceans, rivers, canals and lakes for the movement of ships and boats. In this system ships and boats are used to transport men and materials. Transportation by this system is possible between the ports on the sea route or along the rivers or canals where ever inland navigation  facilities are available .

Though the speed of this system is the lowest among the four modes of transportationsystem, but it needs minimum energy to haul unit load through unit distance.


4. Airways

Air craft and helicopters use the air ways. Air system of transportation is the fastest and provides more comfort apart from saving time in transportation men and material, but is costliest among all the four systems mentioned above. Due to its high cost, this mode of transportation is confined to Government officials and rich people.

5. Pipeline Transport

This mode of transportation involves the use of hollow pipes in the transportation of water, crude oil, (petroleum) and gas. This system of transportation is safer than using tankers or trailers in the transportation of these liquids.

Other Modes of Transportation include

(I) Animal-powered transport:

This is mostly referred to as beast of burden. This mode is the oldest means of transportation; this  system usually involves the use of animals for the transportation of people and goods. Humans ride some of the higher animals directly, or harness them. The  animals used for transporting humans and goods include camel, horse, donkey, elephant, and giraffe.

(II) Human powered transport:

This is another type of transport,  human muscle-power is used to transport people, goods or both from one place to another, in the form of walking, running and swimming. Nowdays modern technology has allowed machines to take over human power.

Due to the cost-saving, physical exercise, leisure, and environmentalism human-powered transport remains popular;  sometimes this is the only type available, especially in underdeveloped or inaccessible regions.

(III) Spaceflight:

In this mode of transport a spacecraft moves out of earth’s atmosphere in to outer space. It is commonly used to put satellite into orbit, and conduct scientific experiments. And conduct scientific experiments for large amounts of research related to technology.

(IV) Cable transport:

In Cable transport system cable is used as the foundation for transporting goods or people, often in vehicles called cable cars. The cabe may be driven or pulled by pulling, sailing, sliding or by drives within the object being moved on cable ways.

This type of transportation is basically used in maountanaous area. The common elements of transport are use of pulleys and balancing of loads going up and down .

Choices of Mode of Transportation

The choice of ransport mode depends upon the following factors.

  1. The length of the haul
  2.  Weight and size of consignment
  3. 3 Traffic density
  4. Nature of route
  5. Quality of service.

The nature of transport demand depends upon the stage of economic and social development, geographic, topographical and demographic conditions of the country.

Air transport is very costly and water transport usually is limited to are where the water ways are navigable without much expenses. Thus road and railways are the only two major means of transportation. Their comparative merits and demerits are enumerated as below:

Difference between Railway Transport and Road Transport

S.NoRailway TransportRoad transport
1.It is ideal for bulk cargo. And it is ideal for long distances.It is ideal for non bulk cargo, i.e., for less quantity. And it is useful for any distance.
2.It can be used from station to station.Road transport is  used for door to door delivery.
3.More pilferage and breakages i.e.,  safety of material is less.Safety of materials is more due to careful handling and direct accountability of the river.
4.Gradient should be minimum.Steeper gradients can be provided.
5.Reliability is on specific services only. All other are poor. Freight rates not uniform.Irregular Services and scheduled custom tailored i.e., good.  Freight rates uniform.
6.Not readily available due to shortage of wagons.Readily available.
7.No formalities of octori in between the stations.Octori holds up, cause delay and render the services irregular and acts as an irritant.
8.Total cost is higher than that of road transport.Total cost is less than that of rail transport.
9.Less employment potential.Higher employment potential.
10.Tractive resistance of a steel wheel on steel rail is about 1/5 to 1/6 of the pneumatic wheel tyre on the highway.Tractive resistrance of pneumatic wheel tyre and highway is 5 to 6 times more than that of railway wheel on the steel track.
11.Packing and other economies are not there.Packing and inventory economies are there.

Modes of Transportation, ways of transportation”

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