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Catherine L. Gibbon: Improvements in Street Railway Construction, 1892

Early Ways

Primitive railed roads called wagonways, consisting of wooden rails, were used in Germany as early as the 16th century. The beginning of the modern railroad, wagonways allowed horse-drawn wagons and carts to move with greater ease than they did over dirt roads. By 1776, wooden wheels and rails were replaced with iron ones. Wagonways—and later "tramways"—spread throughout Europe. By the late 1780s, flanged wheels were designed, an important feature that carried over to later locomotives. The flange was a groove that allowed wheels a better grip on rails. Invention of the steam engine was vital to the invention of trains and the modern railroad.