Economic history of the United Kingdom in the 19th century Railways
The British invented the modern railway system and exported it to the world. They emerged from Britain's elaborate system of canals and roadways, which both used horses to haul coal for the new steam engines installed in textile factories. Britain furthermore had the engineers and entrrepreurs needed to create and finance a railway system. In 1815, George Stephenson invented built the modern steam locomotive, launching a technological race bigger, more powerful locomotives using higher and higher steam pressures. Stephenson's key innovation came when he integrated all the components of a railways system in 1825 by opening the Stockton and Darlington line. It demonstrated it was commercially feasible to have a system of usable length. London poured money into railway building—a veritable bubble, but one with permanent value. Thomas Brassey brought British railway engineering to the world, with construction crews that in the 1840s employed 75,000 men across Europe. Every nation copied the British model. Brassey expanded throughout the British Empire and Latin America. His companies invented and improved thousands of mechanical devices, and developed the science of civil engineering to build roadways, tunnels and bridges. The telegraph, although invented and developed separately, proved essential for the internal communications of the railways because it allowed slower trains to pull over as express trains raced through. Telegraphs made it possible to use a single track for two-way traffic, and to locate where repairs were needed. Britain had a superior financial system based in London that funded both the railways in Britain and also in many other parts of the world, including the United States, up until 1914. The boom years were 1836 and 1845–47, when Parliament authorized 8,000 miles of railways with a projected future total of £200 million; that about equalled one year of Britain's GDP....
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