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Railways & Technology

Key Texts


John Armstrong, ‘From Shillibeer to Buchanan: transport and the urban environment’ in M. Daunton, The Cambridge Urban History of Britain

A. J. Arnold and S McCartney, ‘Rates of return, concentration levels and strategic change in the British railway industry’, Journal of Transport History, 2005 [online]

William Ashworth, ‘Industry and Transport’ in Chris Williams (ed.), A Companion to Nineteenth-Century Britain


Daniel Bell, ‘Dissolving distance: technology, space and empire in British political thought, 1770-1900’, Journal of Modern History, 2005 [online]

Myles W. Jackson, ‘A Cultural history of Victorian physical science and technology’ (Review article), Historical Journal, 2007 [online]

Michael Freeman, Railways and the Victorian imagination


Michael Freeman, 'The railway as a cultural metaphor: what kind of railway history? Re-visited', Journal of Transport History, 1999 [online]

James Taylor, ‘Business in pictures: representations of railway enterprise in the satirical press in Britain, 1845-70’, Past and Present, 2005 [online]



  • What impact did the transport and communications revolution have on Victorian cities?
  • What was the contribution of technology to the development of Victorian cities?
  • What implications did the transport revolution have for the Victorian economy?
  • Which 'class' issues emerge from exploring the advances in transport and communications?
  • How were railways represented in Victorian culture and the press?


Further Reading



 D Aldcroft, Studies in British transport history


D Aldcroft and M Freeman (eds), Transport in the industrial revolution


Geoffrey Alderman, 'The Victorian transport revolution', Historical Journal, 1971

Geoffrey Alderman, The railway interest


A. J. Arnold, ‘Were they ever productive to the capitalist? Rates of return on Britain’s railways, 1830-55’, Journal of European Economic History, 2004

P S Bagwell, The transport revolution from 1770


T Barker, An economic history of transport in Britain


Robert Barker, 'The metropolitan railway and the making of Neasden' Transport History, 1981

B Duckham, The Transport revolution


S Engermann, 'Railways and economic growth in England and Wales 1840-1870. A new approach to railway history'. Business History, 1971

J Francis, A history of the English railway: its social relations and revelations (1851)

M Freeman, Atlas of railway history

Hannah Gay, ‘Clock synchrony, time distribution and electrical timekeeping in Britain, 1880-1925’, Past and Present, 2003 [online]

T R Gourvish, Railways and the British economy


G R Hawke, Railways and economic growth


R W Ireland, 'The railway and crime in the nineteenth century', Continuity and Change, 1997 [online]

R J Irving, 'The capitalisation of Britain's railways 1830-1914', Journal of Transport History, 1984

J R Kellett, The Impact of railways on Victorian cities


Maurice Kirby, The Origins of Railway Enterprise: The Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1821-1863

F C Mather, 'The railways, the electric telegraph and public order during the Chartist period, 1837-48', History, 1953

Frank McKenna, 'Victorian railway workers', History Workshop Journal , 1976

H Parris, Government and the railways in 19th century Britain


H Perkin, The Age of the railway


Douglas Reid, Douglas 'The Iron roads and the happiness of the working classes: the early development and social significance of the railway excursion', Journal of Transport History, 1996 [online]

J Richards and J McKenzie (eds), The Railway station. A social history

J Simmons, The Victorian railway