Steam locomotive was the original method of train power. The first steam train ran on February 21, 1804, its high-pressure steam operation developed by British inventor Richard Trevithick. The historic route ran from the high costs of maintenance of the steam engines, by the middle of the twentieth century, electric and diesel took over the industry.
The linked grouping of photographs documents steam train accidents during their years of operation. A few pictures are featured here; see the entire collection at Vintage Everyday.