2 March 2012
Last updated at 07:06
A virtual archive exhibiting original drawings and plans relating to the UK's rail infrastructure has been published online by Network Rail.
Many of the images, such as this elevation of the Box Tunnel in Wiltshire, show designs by celebrated engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The tunnel, located between Chippenham and Bath, was by far the most difficult single engineering work on the entire London to Bristol route as it contained an unusually steep gradient.
The archive holds records by the most famous railway engineers including Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Robert Stephenson, Joseph Locke and William Henry Barlow and is said to be important for engineers working now.
Some of the oldest records in the collection date back to the 1680s. Those for Charing Cross station have Sir Christopher Wren's signature - land he once owned was sold to the railway in the 19th century.
Network Rail's archivist Vicky Stretch said the records are "an absorbing window to understanding the incredibly detailed and beautiful architectural work carried out by some of the world's greatest engineers".
When North Wales's Britannia Bridge was built it had the longest continuous wrought iron span in the world. Devastated by fire in 1970, the bridge was rebuilt using the masonry supports in Robert Stephenson’s original structure
The High Level Bridge at Newcastle, also designed by Robert Stephenson, was the first bridge in the world to combine road and rail traffic.
At the time it was built in 1839, Brunel’s railway bridge over the River Thames at Maidenhead boasted the flattest yet widest brick constructed arches in the world.
Manchester was already at the heart of industrial revolution when the railway came to the city in 1830. Half a century later the goods warehouses underneath Manchester London Road were some of the busiest in the world - now they are a metrolink station.
The Tay Bridge, which opened in 1878, brought increased travel and trade to the east coast of Scotland. However, just a year later the bridge collapsed during a storm, killing 75. It was concluded the disaster happened as a result of defects in design, and its creator Thomas Bouch was held responsible.