Image for Liverpool to Manchester - the world’s first modern railway

Liverpool to Manchester - the world’s first modern railway

Duration: 09:20

Manchester was the powerhouse of Britain’s Industrial Revolution and its factories produced goods on an unprecedented scale. But the city’s textile industry was dependant on the cotton arriving from America at the Liverpool docks. Trade between the two cities was already a thousand tons of cotton per day, but the wealthy industrialists were hungry for more.

Linking Liverpool and Manchester by railway would not be easy; it would take huge amounts of money, a massive labour force, and a brilliant engineer. The engineer was George Stephenson.

Stephenson also won the contest to design the best engine to run on the line – the famous ‘Rocket’. In 1830 the line opened and a new age of locomotion had begun.

Available since: Wed 13 Feb 2013

This clip is from

Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways - Learning Zone

Dan Snow explores how Britain invented and built the railways.

First broadcast: 13 Feb 2013

Image for Locomotion: Dan Snow's History of Railways - Learning Zone Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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