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The Development Of Trains

The success of the Trials soon had far more than a local impact. By successfully applying steam and iron rails to locomotion, a new form of transport had been created. Not only were railways built throughout Britain, but rails, locomotives and railway equipment were exported throughout the world.

As Manchester had grown around the Lancashire cotton industry, so Leeds was a commercial centre for the woollen industry. The Pennines restricted canal development, so the railway provided a realistic alternative, especially with the growth in the extraction of coal from the mines in the North East and Yorkshire.

A number of lines were approved in the area, such as the Leeds and Selby Railway, in 1830, which would link the former to the port of Hull, via the River Ouse.

While the L&MR had not totally ousted the Lancashire canal system from the transport of goods, even though rail transport was far quicker, there was an unexpected enthusiasm for passenger travel. This resulted from the desire of the middle class businessmen to live outside the town and city centres and so led to the growth of suburban lines and the desire for day trips.

The financial success of the Liverpool & Manchester was beyond all expectations and interests in London and Birmingham soon planned to build lines linking these cities together. The two lines were the London and Birmingham (L&BR), designed by Robert Stephenson, which ran from Euston Square, London, to Curzon Street, Birmingham, and the Grand Junction, engineered by Joseph Locke, which ran from Curzon Street to an end-on junction with the Warrington and Newton Line, a branch of the L&MR, at Dallam, near Warrington in Cheshire.

The Grand Junction was designed to link the existing L&MR and the new L&BR. It opened on 4 July 1837, with the L&BR following a few months later.

Although an Act of Parliament allowed railway companies compulsory purchase of wayleaves, some powerful landowners objected to railways being built across their land and raised objections in Parliament to prevent the bill from being passed.

Some landowners charged excessive amounts, so these early lines did not always follow the optimal route. In addition it was felt that steep gradients were to be avoided and, while speeds were expected to be less than about 30mph, curves were considered less of a problem. It was the curves on these early lines that, a century later, would lead to British Railways' experimentation with, and later introduction of, tilting trains.

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