The economic impact of the growth of rail travel was momentous. It allowed new industries to develop and existing ones to expand and consolidated Liverpool’s position as the gateway to the Americas.
Its impact on society as a whole was of a magnitude that is difficult to comprehend today. The Liverpool & Manchester Railway substantially unaltered, survives into the 21st century as an important part of the UK rail network.
Its success was due to the vision and determination of a group of men and women who possessed supreme confidence in the technology of their age. Their legacy is available for everyone to travel on and to enjoy.
- It led to the establishment of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) so that timetables could be drawn up accurately, rather than using regional (local) times.
- It allowed the population of the urban areas to ‘spread out’. Suburbs were built, enabling some families the chance to move out of the town and city centres and to travel in to work each day by train. The more prosperous the family, the more popular was moving out of the unhealthy urban areas into the fresher air of the countryside.
- Day excursions and seaside holidays by train became popular, especially amongst the industrial workers – one of the first rail excursions was to a public hanging! The development of northern resorts such as Southport and Blackpool was made possible by rail travel.
- The development of a national postal service became possible.
- It led to the introduction of cheap paperback books that could be easily read during a train journey.
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