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The railways – they were made possible by Richard Trevithick. Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man 8/13: The Drive For Power, BBC 1973
Rain, Steam, Speed – The Great Western Railway completed by Turner somewhere around 1843, 1844. Great Artists with Tim Marlow: J M W Turner
You’ve got to be concerned with electric rails ’cause that’ll liven you up. King Robbo
The First World War had begun – imposed on the statesmen of Europe by railway timetables. It was an unexpected climax to the railway age. A J P Taylor, The First World War, 1963
They would build a railroad: it’s completion would be one of the greatest technological achievements of the age. Ken Burns: The West V, The Grandest Enterprise Under God, PBS 1996
By 1874 railroads had brought millions of settlers to the West opening up new lands for homesteads. Ken Burns: The West VI, Fight No More Forever
The railways transform British life. The British V: Superpower, Sky Atlantic 2012
He began work on what was to become the Great Western Railway. Jeremy Clarkson, Great Britons: Brunel BBC 2002
Brunel wanted his tracks seven feet apart ... The larger the wheel the less the friction ... Fit the big wheels and then put the carriage between them ... A lower centre of gravity, you’ve got better dynamics ... and something that changed the world – more speed. ibid.
He proposed a tunnel: two miles long ... He built this exquisite, elaborate and very expensive facade but inside it was unlined ... The opening of the Box Tunnel meant a straight and level run from London to Bristol in four hours, thirteen hours faster than the mail coach. ibid.
Brunel’s Temple Meads Terminus. It is impossible to over-stress the importance of the Great Western Railway ... Brunel’s railway changed our expectations, it changed our aspirations, it changed everything. ibid.
1843 ... He was still only thirty-seven. The crowning glory of the Great Western Railway: Paddington Station. ibid.
I endeavour to comprehend the present extraordinary state of railway matters when everyone around seems mad, stark staring wildly mad. The only sane course for a sane man is to get out and keep quiet. Isambard Kingdom Brunel
My policy is to be able to take a ticket at Victoria Station and go anywhere I damn well please. Ernest Bevin, 1881-1951, British Labour politician & trade unionist, Spectator 20th April 1951
It will encourage the working classes to move about. Duke of Wellington
That life-quickening atmosphere of a big railway station where everything is something trembling on the brink of something else. Vladimir Nabokov
Once Britain was proud of its trains. The country had the first and greatest rail network in the world ... Then something changed. In 1961 a certain Doctor [Richard] Beeching was hired by the government to write a report on the future of Britain’s railways. He recommended closing a third of the network, shutting down thousands of stations and tearing up miles and miles of track. Beeching became one of the most reviled men in the country. Ian Hislop Goes off the Rails, BBC 2013
Railways though rooted in the world of money and commerce were fast becoming works of art in their own right. ibid.
1948: the Labour government nationalised the railways. ibid.
When the railway went, it was the workers on the local lines who were hit first. ibid.
The damage inflicted by Beeching is still felt today. ibid.
Their dismissal of the social and cultural cost of cutting the railways was a real failure. ibid.
The art critic John Ruskin – for Ruskin the railway epitomised a brutalising age. Ian Hislop’s Olden Days III, BBC 2014
The biggest and busiest rail freight port in the UK is Felixstowe on the east coast of Sussex. More than four million units are handled here every year, with sixty-six trains a day each hauling over two thousand tons of goods all over the country. Ian Hislop’s Trains that Changed the World III
America has the largest rail network in the world. With more than 150,000 miles of track; that’s enough to go round the Earth six times. ibid.
At the start of the twentieth century, 45 years after the death of Brunel, the Great Western had a problem: passenger numbers on the Great Western mainline were stagnating. And investors were getting nervous … The holiday express was born. Ian Hislop’s Trains that Changed the World IV
In the 25 years since the Channel Tunnel opened, UK passenger numbers have more than doubled. ibid.
It was the railroad that carried the great tide of Americans to areas of new opportunity and hope. It was the railroads that linked the diverse segments of this vast land so that together they could create the greatest economy the world has ever known. John F Kennedy
They should be made to pay. I think there can be no satisfactory future for the railways unless they are made to pay. Richard Beeching
We do not ride on the railroad, it rides upon us. Henry David Thoreau
I’m proud to be a railway modeller. It means more to me to be on the cover of Model Railroader than to be on the cover of a music magazine. Rod Stewart
I am glad to learn that the Parliament Bill has been passed for the Darlington Railway. George Stephenson
Last night Dr Beeching sat in his spacious office at ICI headquarters in London and admitted with a bland smile: ‘No, I have no experience of railways, except as a passenger.’ Daily Mirror article
8.30 p.m. Weekdays and Sundays: the Down Postal Special leaves Euston for Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Night Mail, GPO Film Unit, 1936
500,000,000 letters every year. ibid.
When the bag is full it is tied, labelled and sealed ready for dispatch by apparatus or at the next stop. ibid.
National Railway Museum in York: the world’s greatest collection of locomotives … Stephenson’s Rocket: that’s the original inside the museum. Fred Dibnah’s Industrial Age s5: Railways, BBC 1999
It was Robert Stephenson’s father George who is credited as being the father of the railways. ibid.
The Victorian age was an age when Britain led the world in making and inventing things, an age when engineering achievement was seen as a symbol of national greatness. Everything was getting bigger and faster. Everything was on a grand scale. Fred Dibnah’s Victorian Heroes s1e1, BBC 2001
These were the men who transformed the face of the country and the world, and turned the Victorian age into the great age of the engineer. ibid.