Branching Out

THE COMING OF THE RAILWAYS

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Steam railways were not only a result of the pioneering work of locomotive engineers.

They originated as a result of economic pressures and technical developments over many years. The West Midlands pioneered many changes before and during the era of steam and helped to shape today’s railway network.

Railways probably came to Britain in 1565 when a German engineer, Daniel Hochstetter, used trucks running on wooden planks to transport copper in Lake District mines.

Within a few years, these wooden railways came out of the mines into the open. The first may have been in 1603 in Nottinghamshire, which hauled coal for a distance of two miles, but recently, a line which moved coal from Broseley in Shropshire to the River Severn has been cited as the first. In any case, by the early seventeenth century, the east- Shropshire coalfield had acquired a network of wooden rails.

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Railway Steam