Let's Catch A Steam Train

George Stephenson drove Britain’s first-ever steam-powered passenger train, the Locomotion Number One, on 27th September, 1825, from Darlington to Stockton on Tees.

The Cambridge Chronicle and Journal reported, with breathless excitement: “in the presence of great crowds of spectators, including many scientific gentlemen… 60 waggons were attached, containing one thousand persons, who were visibly delighted, as were the thousands of spectators. The cavalcade moved by signals, and the whole of this immense mass could be stopped at any prescribed place and moment. On one part of the line, the speed was 12 miles an hour.” 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how this pivotal event lead to the development of the commuter class, larger-scale corporations, and trades unions with newfound power; explain how amenities including corridors, toilets, and proper ticketing systems were still decades away; and reveal how Wordsworth campaigned against the steam railway - in verse, of course… 

Further Reading:

• ‘George Stephenson and the Invention of the Steam Locomotive Engine’ (ThoughtCo, 2017): https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-the-railroad-1992457

• ‘George Stephenson - The Father of Railways’ (Stockton Heritage): https://heritage.stockton.gov.uk/articles/people/george-stephenson-the-father-of-railways/

• ‘The Stockton and Darlington Railway’ (BBC Teach, 2017): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6a4zDjLAlY

#1800s #Science #UK #Technology

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The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill. Edit producer: Sophie King. Mix & Scheduling: Steve Stonhold

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