Between 1830-1880, transport in Britain was transformed by the building of a huge railway network. The railways were needed for the transport of raw materials and manufactured goods. Railways brought changes to industry, society and politics.
Rail travel was quicker, cheaper and more comfortable than travelling by stagecoach. The government insisted that railway companies sell cheap third class tickets to working class travellers.
Canals lost business as they were slower, and liable to freezing in winter. They also could suffer from too low a water level in the summer. Their capacity for transporting goods in bulk was inferior to railways. Canals were more expensive than railways to build. Railways were more popular with passengers. Railways could link up more successfully with ports, coalmines and factories.
Coastal shipping lost out to the railways as trains were not affected by tides, and delays due to storms. When trains were delayed by bad weather, merchant shipping was probably affected by the weather, too.
Long distance road transport went into decline, and did not recover until the twentieth century.