For the majority of the British public in the Victorian period the railways were the only way to travel. In 1880 the population of Britain and Ireland took 518 million railway journeys, and by the turn of the century this number had risen to just over 1.1 billion. Therefore, for anyone trying to get anywhere before 1914, the process of checking the timetable, buying a ticket and taking a seat, was central to their work and leisure activities. However, how people travelled in 1830 had changed radically by the time of the First World War, and the basic services of the early railway been replaced by comfort and complexity. David Turner tells this story; from the development of the stations, passenger carriages, waiting rooms, and tickets, through to the more unfamiliar aspects of smoking and 'ladies only' compartments, excursion trains, passenger's accident insurance and the dangers of crime and accidents. This introduction to Victorian railway travel describes how many features of people's journeys reflected the world in which they were living; and while many were unique to the period, others we would recognise in our railway journeys today.
TOC: Introduction / The Beginning of Journeys / The Carriage and its Development / Inside the Carriage / The Perils of Railway Travel / Destinations, For Work and Pleasure / Conclusion.
About the Author
David Turner is a PhD student at the University of York and the National Railway Museum's Institute of Railway Studies and Transport History, studying Victorian railway management between 1870-1914. He is the author of the TurnipRail railway history blog.