We humans are a busy old bunch. All over the world we make billions of journeys each day – whether it’s short trips to school or exotic holidays abroad, gentle canal boat cruises or pulse pounding motorcycle rides.

We’ve conquered land, sea, sky, and have even started visiting space, all because of the tremendous transport we’ve created.

Now, thanks to this beautifully illustrated Amazing Transport, learn all about how cars, trains, planes, rockets and many other types of transport came to be what they are today.

Explore travel timelines and read about the people and stories behind the machines that keep the world moving – including Viking longships, vehicles operated by pedal power, Japanese bullet trains, spaceships and balloons that carry you away with hot air. Whoosh!

Transport trivia

The world’s longest trains are more than 4km in length. Wow! The mighty machines are owned by the Canadian National Railway.

The first boats were built around 8000BC. They were called dugout canoes and were built from hollowed-out logs.

The wheel was first created about 7,000 years ago. It was used to make pottery – a potter in the Middle East started making bowls by spinning clay on a round wooden board.

The first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean was Charles Lindbergh in 1927. He flew from New Jersey, USA to Paris, France, in 33 hours.

The world’s biggest helicopter was built in Russia in 1968. It had space for a 196 people!


Talking transport

Author Tom Jackson and Illustrator Chris Mould answer four tricky questions about transport!


Which time period had the coolest transport?

Tom: The 1920 and 30s, specifically the giant airships, which were as about four times longer than today’s jumbo jets. They were slow but could fly all day long, gently passing overhead as the passengers (enjoying the height of luxury) took in the fantastic views. However, they did have a tendency to explode and crash in an immense fireball, so I’d like to have got off before that happened.

Chris: The coolest transport period is definitely the age of steam power. Nothing can improve on the astonishing intricacy of all the pipes and valves and steam and gubbins. Great to draw. Smells good. Looks awesome. Toot toot.


What is your favourite fictional vehicle?

Tom: KITT. What can I say, I’m a child of the 1980s, and Knight Rider counted for good TV back then (and had a great theme tune). KITT was a sports car that could drive itself, talk and had a TV screen and games console. I still want one.

Chris: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Escape into an adventure, race through the streets and ride through the sky. What’s not to like?


If you could visit anywhere, where would you go, and how would you travel?

Tom: I’d visit a hydrothermal vent — or black smoker — a boiling-water volcanic spring on the seabed near the Midocean Ridge, which is a hidden mountain range deep in the Atlantic. Strange animals live down here, such as two-metre long worms and ghostly white octopuses. But it is pitch black and the water pressure would squash me flat, so I’d travel in a deep-sea submersible, a mini-submarine that is strong enough to go all the way to the bottom of the sea.

Chris: I’d go from Belgium into Germany and down into Austria and then Switzerland and down through Italy and then back again. In an old car. With a good mechanic. The best scenery in the world.


How do you think humans will get around in the future?

Tom: Hopefully we’ll use more public transport; the bus is fun, try it! We will design our communities so that walking or cycling are the first choices for getting around. We won’t have cars parked outside our houses—thinks of all the extra space we’ll have—but if we need to make a special journey we will ask for a self-driving taxi to pick us up and take use wherever we want.

Chris: I love the idea of the hyperloop system of travel. I’m not sure I fully understand how it operates but I think the concept of being fired through a tube at high speed is quite appealing. Especially if it is developed in a planet friendly way.


Amazing Transport is available from all good bookshops





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