THE BRITISH OVERSEAS RAILWAYS HISTORICAL TRUST

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SOME RAILWAY HISTORY

PREFACE by Paul Waters

 

A RAILWAY IS a prepared track for a vehicle with the following characteristics:-

  • Guidance of the vehicle,
  • Reduced rolling resistance,
  • Permanence ("permanent way").

It has been known in some form, somewhere, for some 5000 years.

1564 - THE HISTORY OF THE RAILWAY as we know it today STARTS IN BRITAIN in 1564.
In that year:-

  • The Company of Mines Royal was chartered.
    • Introduced guide-pin mine railway from Germany.
The illustration below shows a guide-pin mine truck from the book "De Re Metalica"
  • Huntingdon Beaumont was born.
    • Invented the Newcastle Waggonway in 1604
The illustration below shows a typical view of a Newcastle waggonway c.1760


THE FIRST TURNPIKE RAILWAYS

For the first two centuries, railways were private. Then the first public railways were opened, organised following the precedent of the turnpikes. The railway company owned the track and contracted out all operations. Even the collection of tolls was "farmed out". The users paid tolls to take their own horse drawn wagons onto the railway.


Ticket to ride behind Trevithick's 1808 Locomotive.
The World's First Railway Ticket?
  • 1803 Trevithick’s first locomotive
  • 1804 Surrey Iron Railway - First turnpike (public) railway.
  • 1805 The Oystermouth Railway or Tram Road Company - The first railway to have a regular public passenger service from 1807.
  • 1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway
  • 1830 Liverpool & Manchester Railway, Stephenson's Rocket.
1823 First export locomotive.
by Stears of Leeds sent to the USA in 1825.


1830-1850 THE INTEGRATED RAILWAY

Railways are inherently dangerous as the trains cannot take avoiding action or brake rapidly in an emergency. So, to manage safety, railways moved away from the turnpike model to the fully integrated railway as they developed.


c.1850 READY TO EXPORT

1825 on - Visitors come from abroad to inspect the newfangled transport system


 
Graph of Brassey's Railway Building
Some First Steam Railways:-
  • USA 1829
  • Europe (France) 1830
  • S America (British Guiana) 1848
  • Asia (India) 1853
  • Australia 1854
  • N Africa 1856
  • S Africa 1860

As the British Railway system expanded rapidly at the beginning of the Victorian era, other countries soon called on British expertise to assist their own economic development.

Now let Mike Hudson take up the story.


© Paul E Waters 2020


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