24. Reading Skills Comprehension: Puffing and Snorting

By | July 29, 2020

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Puffing and Snorting

Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow-               

Puffing and snorting, the iron monster came roaring by. Smoke poured from its chimney and steam hissed from its pistons. The earth shook. Everyone rushed to see what it was. The children stopped their play, the women hurried out of their houses and the farmers dropped their tools. The year was 1830 and it was the first passenger train in Britain running between Liverpool and Manchester. When the train passed, people came to watch. Many of them were terrified. The engine made such a noise and it travelled so fast!  Railroads were known in England even earlier. At that time, horses pulled the trains on the railways. The steam locomotive was still in the making. Originally the railways were used for carrying heavy goods like coal and iron. The steam engine was first used by a British railway company, Stockton and Darlington in 1825. The engine was Locomotion I, made by George Stephenson. It was a sensation as it achieved an incredible speed of 20 miles an hour. However, the company used it for the goods train only. For passenger trains, they still used the horses. The turning point for railways came in 1830 when the steam locomotive was used for passenger traffic also by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. It was ‘The Rocket’ designed and driven by George Stephenson. This engine travelled at the undreamed speed of twenty-nine miles an hour. It was an immediate success. Soon railways were laid in many parts of the world. In India, the first railway train started between Bombay and Thane – a stretch of 32 kilometres in 1853.  At the start of railways, only first-class passengers travelled in fully- enclosed coaches. These were lit by oil lamps and had padded seats. Second class passengers rode in open coaches. There was no roof and the seating was of hardwood. It was only after 1848 that all coaches were roofed. In 1879, the first restaurant car service was provided on a British railway.  Today, the railways have grown up. There is a vast network of railways in our country. Now trains are hauled not by steam engines but by diesel or electric engines which have increased the speed of the train many times. The passenger coaches today have all comforts.  

Vast changes have come on goods trains also. Freight wagons have been built for almost every purpose. The closed wagon is the most familiar one used for carrying various goods like cement, grain, etc. There are now refrigerated wagons for carrying fruits, vegetables and fish; tanker wagons to carry oil, petrol and cooking gas; refrigerated tanker wagons to carry milk; box-container wagons to carry household goods and other things and flat cars to carry big items like trucks, automobiles or heavy machinery. Open-topped wagons are used for carrying coal, ore and other minerals and also sugar cane to sugar factories. 

 a. How did people react when they saw a train for the first time?

b.Why was the first locomotive a sensation?

c.What was special about ‘The Rocket’?

d.How did the passenger coaches look in the beginning

e. Find the words in the passage which mean the same as the following:                                               

a.difficult to believe                b . to pull or drag 

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