The Coming of the Railway


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A New Global History, 1750-1850

David Gwyn

View Inside Format: Hardcover
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The first global history of the epic early days of the iron railway
Railways, in simple wooden or stone form, have existed since prehistory. But from the 1750s onward the introduction of iron rails led to a dramatic technological evolution—one that would truly change the world.
In this rich new history, David Gwyn tells the neglected story of the early iron railway from a global perspective. Driven by a combination of ruthless enterprise, brilliant experimenters, and international cooperation, railway construction began to expand across the world with astonishing rapidity. From Britain to Australia, Russia to America, railways would bind together cities, nations, and entire continents. Rail was a tool of industry and empire as well as, eventually, passenger transport, and developments in technology occurred at breakneck speed—even if the first locomotive in America could muster only 6 mph.
The Coming of the Railway explores these fascinating developments, documenting the early railway’s outsize social, political, and economic impact—carving out the shape of the global economy as we know it today.

David Gwyn is a historian of the industrial and modern period. He is actively involved in the railway heritage movement, serving as a trustee of the Ffestiniog Railway and as chairman of the Bala Lake Railway Company.

ISBN: 9780300267891
Publication Date: May 23, 2023
416 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
32 color illus., 30 bw + 6 maps