of the Railways
When Victoria came to the throne in 1837 very few railway lines
had been opened in Scotland, and those which were operating were
mainly for the benefit of industry, transporting coal and other
raw materials between Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh. By the turn
of the century, within one generation, nearly all of Scotlands
railways had been built, linking most major towns and many small
villages, stretching from the Borders in the south to Thurso on
north coast, and operating many lines which are shut and deemed
unprofitable today. Journeys which had taken days prior to Victorias
reign, when the fasted method of travel had been the horse-drawn
carriage, were now completed in a matter of hours.
very earliest railways carried coal from mines to coastal harbours;
these included the Tranent and Cockenzie Waggonway of 1772, which
ran on wooden rails, and the Kilmarnock and Troon Railway of 1805.
It wasnt long before advances in engineering and the development
of more efficient steam engines presented itself as an opportunity
to the railway men of the early 19th century.
In the 1842
the Edinburgh and Glasgow line opened and the popularity of the
railways was becoming something of a sensation. A rivalry developed
between two major companies, the Caledonian Company, which ran trains
into Glasgow, and the North British Company which linked Edinburgh
to Carlisle. The link to the English railway network opened in 1848.
In an attempt to compete with the Caledonian Companys dominance
north of the River Tay, the North British Company made plans to
open an east coast route by bridging both the Tay and the Forth.
So started some of the biggest engineering projects in the world
at the time.
BBC is not responsible for the content of external Web sites.