- Stockton and Darlington Railway opened on 27th September
1826 - Construction of the railway line between Liverpool
and Manchester began.
1829 - As the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester
Railway drew closer a competition was held to choose the
locomotive design, which was to run on the railway. In
October, the 'Rainhill Trails' took place and George
Stephenson's 'Rocket' (left) locomotive won the competition.
- The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway opened in May. On
September 15th, and dubbed as the first modern 'mainline'
the Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened.
The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was believed to be the
prototype for the future of the railway as it used steam
locomotives along its entire length, where as the Stockton
to Darlington Railway used both horse and steam power.
Pictured right is a view of the tunnels at Liverpool Edge
1836 - The first railway in London opened from Spa
Road to Deptford, which formed part of the London and
1837 - The Grand Junction Railway opened in July
between Birmingham and Warrington. This formed part of the
first mainline linking London, Birmingham, Manchester and
- The pioneering Great Western Railway (GWR) opened its
first section from Paddington to Maidenhead in June, using a
7 foot gauge.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the first chief engineer
of Great Western Railway and thought that a wider gauge
would mean that coaches were less cramped and that the
railway would run more efficiently.
George Stephenson's 4 foot 8.5 inch gauge was already in use
across the country.
Pictured left is a Brunel wide gauge engine running along a
mixed gauge track.
1838 - In September the London and Birmingham Railway
1841 - The first railway to cross the Pennines was
opened by the Manchester and Leeds Railway in March.
1842 - The Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway opened in
1846 - 'Railway Mania' started when 273 railway
proposals received Royal Assent. The Gauge commission met
and decided that Stephenson's 4 foot 8.5 inch gauge would
become Britain's standard and that Brunel's system would
have to be changed.
1848 - The Caledonian Railway opened between
Carlisle, Glasgow and Edinburgh completing the 400 mile
London-West Coast-Scotland route.
1850 - The London to Edinburgh line along the East
Coast was opened.
1863 - The first city underground railway was opened
in London between Bishops Road and Farringdon Street.
1890 - The City and South London Railway opened the
first electric underground railway.
Pictured right is an early underground train on the Golders
Green to Hendon line in 1923.