By Christian Wolmar
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Extra info for Blood, Iron, and Gold: How the Railways Transformed the World
The investors had been sufficiently impressed with the performance of the little engine to realize that steam haulage, rather than horse power, was the only way that the line would become viable. While some horse traction was used early on, locomotives were dominant and eventually, by the time the line had extended westwards, were used exclusively. In fact, progress inland was slow as result of opposition, not least from some legislators, and it would actually take a quarter of a century for the line to reach Wheeling, the original planned destination, by which time the east coast was peppered with railways (see Chapter 4) and the great project to link the two coasts would have started.
37. Soviet prisoners. Ullsteinbild/TopFoto. 38. Damaged railway bridge over the Rhine. Topfoto. 39. Double-decked train. Topfoto. 40. Japanese high-speed train. Milepost 92½. 41. The Italo. Nuovo Trasporto Viagiatori/Italo. 42. Abandoned line. TopFoto. 43. Chinese labourer. Ullsteinbild/TopFoto. 44. Salt flat train. George Steinmetz/Science Photo Library. PREFACE In my previous book, Fire & Steam, I undertook a task that seemed daunting – to encapsulate the 175-year history of the railways in Britain in one relatively short volume.
It was a booming port with rum and sugar imported from the West Indies and tobacco from Virginia, while movements of coal in the whole north-west region of the UK were rising sharply as factories using steam equipment sprang up. By the 1820s, the road between Liverpool and Manchester was completely inadequate to the task and canal transport, the only alternative, was expensive and slow. Given the booming Lancashire economy, then the most industrialized region in the world, it was not simply happenstance that led to the world’s first major railway being constructed between these two growing towns.
Blood, Iron, and Gold: How the Railways Transformed the World by Christian Wolmar