Railway Builders, The by Anthony Burton Soft Cover 1992 210 Pages
The Railway Builders by Anthony Burton Soft Cover 1992 210 Pages
Probably the greatest triumph of the nineteenth century was the building of the railways. They established Britain as the centre of the commercial world. After a slow start in the 1820s and 1830s, the country was criss-crossed by the end of the century with an amazing network of lines - one company vying with the other for territory and traffic, each with its own livery and own tradition. The work involved in building these lines was stupendous - routes had to be surveyed, land purchased, rivers crossed, hills burrowed through or sliced in two by cuttings of great length, perhaps with roads passing overhead.
This book concentrates on the people responsible for designing and actually building the railways, from the financiers, engineers and contractors to the gangers and navvies. They deserve far more attention than they have so far received. How was the money raised? How were the necessary Acts driven through Parliament? How did surveyors cope with landowners up in arms? How were the armies of navvies kept off the drink and out of fights? How were tunnels excavated, especially if they ran under rivers like the Severn and were over a mile long? What was involved in cutting through hills or draining swamps like Chat Moss? Who made the billions of bricks, the hundreds of thousands of wooden tunnel supports, or the tens of thousands of miles of rail - and how did they do it?
Against a background of enormous activity, fortunes were made and lost and men died in considerable numbers. Anthony Burton's narrative brings the scene vividly to life.
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