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Steam traction
Easily recognisable by its plume of smoke, the steam locomotive was invented in 1804 by Richard Trevithick in England. For 150 years, steam traction was the most widely used type of traction. The end of the Second World War marked its decline with the arrival of electric and diesel locomotives. The last steam locomotive was built in France in 1953 and the last freight train using steam traction was in 1974. Today, the only steam locomotives still in operation in France are used for tourist trains.
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