The locomotive engine. . . . has changed the face of the country, the course of trade, and the habits of the people. . . .Again, the rapidity and small cost of carriage tend to specialise more than ever the industries of different districts—to confine each manufacture to the parts in which, from local advantages, it can be best carried on. Further, the diminished cost of carriage, facilitating distribution, equalises prices, and also, on the average, lowers prices: thus bringing divers articles within the means of those before unable to buy them, and so increasing their comforts and improving their habits. At the same time the practice of travelling is immensely extended. Classes who never before thought of it, take annual trips to the sea; visit their distant relations; make tours; and so we are benefited in body, feelings, and intellect. — Herbert Spencer (1858)

The locomotive engine plays so important a part in railway travelling that we have thought it necessary, in the remarks which follow, to give dimensions of the types adopted by the various English and Scotch systems for the working of their fast and express trains. . . . Perhaps the most striking feature of British locomotive practice is the extensive use of "single-driver" engines. This does not prevail to any extent elsewhere, and, in fact, it is only lately that their use has become general in this country. It is true that thirty or forty years ago, when speeds were low and trains light, they were very numerous, but coupled engines gradually began to take their place, and fears were expressed in the technical journals that the time would soon come when ** single " engines might be placed on pedestals "-as rare objects of curiosity presumably. Nowadays, however, "singles" are by no means rare, and have to a certain extent been adopted by many lines. The Great Northern and Great Western have always had a liking for them, and recently the Midland, Great Eastern, and North-Eastern have built them in considerable numbers. — J. Peabody Pattinson, British Railways (1893)


The First Locomotives

Later Locomotives

Freight cars

Passenger Cars

Railcars and Railway-owned Steam-Powered Omnibuses


Pattinson, J. Peabody. British Railways: Their Passenger Service, Rolling Stock, Locomotives, Gradients, and Express Speeds. London: Cassell, 1893. Internet Archive version of a copy in the Stanford University library. Web. 10 May 2014.

The Railway Times. c. 1840-1914. Hathi Trust has a fairly complete run 1841-55, 1867-1880, 1905-1914. Most original copies are at Cornell University, but Michigan and Chicago have some, too. — George P. Landow

Last modified 7 September 2018

Epigraph added 19 November 2019