The effects of the railways

Once railways were established as Britain's newest and fastest communication and transport system, they also started to have a number of social, political and economic effects on Britain.

Within 40 years, the arrival of trains had made a big impact on Britain and some of these changes can still be seen today. The railways gave people the ability to travel around the country quickly and made different areas more accessible.

Social, political and economic effects of the railways

The railways broke down stereotypes and mixed cultures because people from different regions were able to mix more.Political movements spread around the country because members of organisations such as Chartism and the Anti-Corn Law League could travel around the country to drum up support.Railways became a major employer because people were needed to build, run and maintain railway services.
British time became standardised for the first time because trains had to run to a set timetable across the country.The government could send soldiers by train to stop political unrest and patrol protests.The transport of heavy materials became much cheaper.
Railways encouraged people to travel further and this meant people could move to different areas to find work.MPs were able to travel more quickly between their constituencies and the Houses of Parliament in London.Perishable food could be moved quickly, so foods such as vegetables and dairy products could now reach the market while they were still fresh.
People were able to take short holidays and day trips to the beach.Political newspapers, pamphlets and newsletters could be delivered by train.More people were able to add fish to their diet because ports could transport fresh seafood to markets.
Many sports became regulated because national competitions could be set up for rugby, football and cricket.Regional products now became household names around the country.
National newspapers could now be delivered.People were willing to invest in railway stocks and this boosted Britain's economy.
One of Britain's biggest exports was locomotives and train parts.
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