Across American praries, through Siberian tundra, over Argentinian pampas and deep into the heart of Africa, the modern world began with the arrival of the railway. The shock was both sudden and universal: railways transformed the world, carrying empire, capitalism and industrialization to every corner of the planet. For some, the 'Iron Road' symbolized the brute horrors of modernity; for others the way toward a brighter future.
From 1825, when the first passenger service linked Stockton and Darlington to the outbreak of World War I, Nicholas Faith's book presents a compelling journey through the first century of rail, introducing visionaries, engineers, surveyors, speculators, financiers and navvies – the heroes and the rogues of the mechanical revolution that turned the world upside down.
'The story of rail travel is two-sided – on the one hand, a tale of extraordinary feats of engineering and design and, on the other, one of changing passenger experiences'