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In 1830, W. C. Redfield proposed the construction of a 'great western railway,' from the Hudson to the Mississippi river, a distance of 1000 miles. This was a magnificent project for that day, and has since been realised, though not in its integrity, by a series of lines stretching across the whole region. The Albany and Schenectady line, sixteen miles in length, was the first made in the state of New York; it was opened in 1833 with locomotive power. There are now in the same state nearly 1500 miles of railway. The whole country is traversed by railways in every direction; their total length at the end of 1850 was 8797 miles, and their cost 286,455,078 dollars, somewhat more than £57,000,000 sterling. The extent to be in operation by the close of the present year has been estimated at 10,000 miles.

A railway convention, attended by 465 delegates, was held at St Louis in October 1849, to discuss the preliminaries of great trunk - line from the Mississippi to California. This project has since been put forward in another form by Mr Whitney: he undertakes, if Congress will grant a sufficient breadth of land along the whole route, to lay down the line, ten miles at a time, with funds raised by the sale of the land on either side. This is a grand scheme, but it is hardly to be expected that American enterprise will stop short of locomotives across the Rocky Mountains. Meantime the Mormons, prior to building their temple, have commenced a wooden railway, to cross their territory from the Salt Lake to the hill country and to the sea-coast.

According to the above statement, American railways have cost about £7000 a mile-less than one-third of the average expense of English lines. This arises from the cheapness of land, a rough and ready system of construction, and the fact that most of the lines have but one pair of rails, and some of these are nothing more than plates of iron nailed down to continuous wooden sleepers. The rate of travelling is about fifteen and seldom exceeds twenty miles an hour, so that the cost for working and maintenance is kept low, and the liability to accident avoided.

In some respects the arrangements and management of American railways are superior to our own. The carriages are from fifty to sixty feet long, resting at each end on a low four-wheeled truck, which, turning on a pivot, admits of sharp curves being passed without danger of derailment' —that is, running off the rails. The seats are placed across, on either side of a clear central space; and as the doors are at the end, a passageway is thus obtained throughout the whole length of a train-an iron footplate serving to bridge over the space between the carriages. There is a positive advantage in this arrangement: the guard may be readily communicated with at any time in case of danger, and passengers, instead of sitting as though packed into a tea-chest, may pass from carriage to carriage, according as they may wish to change their seats, to look for a friend, or discover a conversable companion. A compartment at one end of each carriage is reserved exclusively for the use of women, and is fitted up with washing apparatus and other conveniences. In cold weather the whole vehicle is kept warm by a stove, and lighted always at night by a lamp at each end. The seats are stuffed, and have padded backs, in all carriages alike, there being no distinction of first, second, or third class. The principle in America is to afford the same accommodation to all at the

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lowest profitable scale of charges; and it has been found that the dividends are greatest on the lines where the fares are lowest. Such arrangements might not be generally acceptable in England; but the experiment would be worth trying, whether light, roomy carriages, of only one class, with stuffed seats and moderate fares, would find favour on the one hand, and bring profit on the other.

Besides the advantages here indicated, the American carriages are but half the weight of those made in this country; consequently the sixty or eighty passengers which each will accommodate are conveyed with economy of locomotive power and almost the minimum of dead weight.' It is a common occurrence on the minor lines in England to see a train weighing from twenty to thirty tons set in motion for the transport of one ton or less of passengers. In some quarters a new and lighter style of carriage has been introduced with manifest benefit; by the substitution of iron for wood, weight is diminished without any sacrifice of strength.

There is yet another convenience peculiar to railway travelling in America which we feel bound to notice: the arrangements respecting luggage. The guard receives your trunks, bags, or boxes, attaches to each a numbered zinc label, and for each one gives you a duplicate, and locks the whole in a special compartment. At the journey's end, you choose among the porters of the respective hotels waiting on the platform, hand your zinc labels to one of them, and walk or ride away, with the comfortable assurance that all your luggage will safely follow. Complaints about lost luggage are consequently rare.

It will be said that the throng of passengers and press of business are so much greater in England than America as to prevent any possibility of similar arrangements. Here thousands travel short distances; there hundreds travel long distances. Here from twenty to forty trains a day from a station scarcely satisfy the demand; there four daily trains suffice for the whole traffic. But might we not require that the most efficient and satisfactory arrangements should be formed where there is most work to be done? If we cannot do everything better than all the rest of the world, we ought at least to do as well. We say this knowing that criticism on railway travelling in England is too often received as the mere expression of petulance; that improvement is easier talked of than accomplished; and knowing also that errors are seldom amended unless pointed out.

Railways on the continent may be said to date from 1783, when a line was laid down at the Creusot Foundries, near Mont Cenis : short lines were subsequently brought into operation in other quarters; but it was not until 1835 that the great movement was commenced, in which other countries had led the way, by the authorisation of the line from Paris to St Germains, which was completed and opened towards the close of 1837. In the following year the Orleans line was undertaken by a company, whose resources proving unequal to the task, the government granted them : lease of ninety-nine years, with interest guaranteed at 4 per cent., and by this means the works were finished. Other companies meanwhile were discussing other projects: the line from Paris to Rouen was opened in May 1843, and shortly afterwards extended to Havre. More comprehensive measures followed on the part of the government, by which they proposed to lead railways from the capital to all the frontiers of France, taking the


principal towns and cities on the route. There are now 1800 miles finished and in operation, and 1200 more in progress, making with those projected a total of 4000 miles ; and before long railway communication will be complete between several points on the English Channel and the Mediterranean at Marseilles, while by another main line Bordeaux and Bayonne will be reached. The cost of the completed lines up to 1850 was £46,204,704 — an amount which, according to the estimates, will be doubled by the time all shall be in operation.

Belgium made preparations for railways in 1834. Though but a small territory, it was so situated that travel-field of Europe, and not · battle-field,' might in future be its distinguishing appellation. Two main lines were planned—from Ostend to Liege, and from Antwerp to Valenciennes ; thus touching the French frontier on one side and the Prussian on the other, and both intersecting at Malines. “The undertaking,' so reported the minister of public works, 'is regarded by the Belgian government as an establishment which should neither be a burden nor a source of revenue, and requiring merely that it should cover its own expenses, consisting of the charge for maintenance and repairs, with a further sum for the interest and gradual redemption of the invested capital.' This is the principle on which the government has acted—it made the surveys, decided on the best routes, laid down the lines, and now works them at low fares without incurring debts.

Portions of the lines were opened in 1836; and owing to the favourable nature of the country, and the diligence with which the works were conducted, the whole system was complete by 1841. Besides the lines belonging to the government there are two or three undertaken by private companies, of which the Great Luxemburg is the most important: their route is from near Charleroi to Strasburg, a distance of 140 miles. Altogether the length of the Belgian railways will be 457 miles, which, at the average ascertained cost of £18,016 per mile, will comprise a total expense of more than £8,000,000.

Germany followed: the railways of other countries were permitted to cross her frontiers, and soon numerous lines were stretching far and wide throughout the empire. The traveller may now journey by rail from Ostend to the ports in the Baltic-to Posen, Warsaw, or Vienna, or from the Baltic to the Adriatic at Trieste. Once at Ostend, he will find an iron highway to Berlin or Bâle, Prague, Munich, or Pesth, from whence a line will one day be led to Orsova, and eventually on to Constantinople. In short, a glance at the railway map of the continent will serve to shew how town to town and country to country are linked together from one end of Europe to the other; and still new lines are projected, and those in progress completed.

In most respects the railways of the United States have served as models for those of Germany. In either country the natural level of the soil is followed as much as possible, in order to avoid the expense of cuttings, embankments, or viaducts; each finds single lines with sidings, and from four to five trains daily, at a slow rate of speed, sufficient for the traffic; the style of carriage used in the one is found in the other, and in both the scale of fares is low. The number of miles of railway open in Germany is 4500, and nearly as many more are in progress or projected. The average cost has been estimated at £13,000 per mile.

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Holstein has its railway; English engineers are at work on the preliminaries of lines in Sweden and Norway; in Russia a vast system has been projected, and in part carried out at the expense of the state. A line of 400 miles is to connect Petersburg with Moscow, and another of 683 miles with Warsaw: both are commenced. From Warsaw to Cracow a line of 168 miles is already opened; and a goods-line of 105 miles, worked by horses, from the Don to the Wolga. The latter was opened in 1846, four years after the first railway decree was issued. There is also a short line extending a few miles from St Petersburg, chiefly for pleasure traffic, besides others near the capital in Southern Russia from Kiew to Odessa, not yet commenced. The journey from St Petersburg to Trieste some years hence will be remarkable for its length, and interesting in the rapid change of latitude which it will effect. Leaving the Russian metropolis shivering under intensest frost, the traveller will find himself in the short space of three days transported to the sunny shores of the Adriatic.

As yet Italy has made but small progress with railways : a line partly opened is being laid from Venice to Milan; another from Turin to Genoa is approaching completion ; and a third from Leghorn to Florence, with branches to other towns in Tuscany, make up a system whose further extension will depend as much on enlightened views as on pecuniary


Spain has two railways: one of eighteen miles, from Barcelona to Mataro; another, forty-five miles, from Madrid to Aranjuez. The latter, chiefly promoted by M. Salamanca, was begun in 1846 and finished in February 1851, when it was opened or 'inaugurated' with the ceremony of 'blessing the engines' by the cardinal archbishop of Toledo, in presence of the court, the Cortes, 1000 distinguished attendants on royalty, troops and halberdiers, and three miles of spectators. There are four classes of carriages, the most inferior being without seats, and in which passengers are allowed to carry a burden on their head without additional charge. The fares are about half of those charged in England. Besides these home lines there are forty miles of railway belonging to Spain in the island of Cuba. When we mention further the line from Alexandria to Cairo, and those in the East Indies, for which preparations have been made, and the lines in Canada, all the railways of the world will be included in our brief summary.

The history of railway communications is a vast subject to be treated of within narrow limits. Presenting much to excite our interest in its earlier periods, in its narrative of progress from the germ to the fruit, it astonishes by the record of later results. With a too limited space for the details which these afford, we must content ourselves with such a summing up as may comprehend the more noteworthy among present results.

Year after year since the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1830 has added materially to the resources and capabilities of our railway system. From local it has grown into national importance. British skill and enterprise have formed the fund whence foreign nations drew example and experience, and in numerous instances their material and handiwork. The British system, whatever may be its imperfections, is worked and developed with greater vigour and activity than any other,


and remains unparalleled in the multiplied extent of its operations. We have seen what it comprised in 1830 and subsequent years : the last twelvemonth is still more remarkable. According to the Report of the Commissioners of Railways for 1850, the additional lines opened in that year were in England 477 miles; in Scotland, 104; in Ireland, 44—making the total of the United Kingdom 6621 miles, thus distributed :-5312 miles in England and Wales, 951 in Scotland, and 538 in Ireland. Up to December 1850 the lines authorised by parliament comprehended 12,182 miles : 179 miles having been abandoned, there remained 5382 miles unconstructed, and of these about 4000 miles are as yet untouched. The whole number of stations was 2030 : the number of persons employed on railways in operation in England, Wales, and Scotland, in June 1850, was 60,325, or 9.56 per mile; on 1564 miles of unfinished lines the number was 58,884, or 68.15 per mile. The number of engines at work was 2436; the miles travelled over 40,161,850, or 110,333 per day; the tons of coke burnt, 627,528, which had been produced from 896,466 tons of coal. The accident returns for the same year shewed that 216 persons had been killed, and 256 injured—chiefly, as was stated, through want of punctuality in the arrival and departure of trains. The whole number of passengers exceeded 60,000,000; and the grand total cost of all the railways amounted to £220,000,000.

The needs and purposes of trade were never so promptly subserved as now, notwithstanding the prophetic warnings to the contrary. The number of horses remains undiminished, and on most of our canals business has increased and not decayed. Are the London markets over - supplied ?— straightway the excess is forwarded by rail to Birmingham, Manchester, or other great centres of provincial population; and tons of vegetables, fruit, eggs, poultry, or fish, which in one place would have perished, form an acceptable supply to hundreds of willing customers in another. The produce of remote agricultural districts has now a value altogether unanticipated a few years ago, and nature's redundant bounties are beneficially distributed. The mineral produce of Yorkshire and the midland counties is now poured into new and wider markets; and the inhabitant of London, as well as of other towns, hitherto supplied with fuel at a high cost, now saves one-third in the price of the coals he consumes. And to a still greater extent is social intercourse promoted. Hundreds of thousands who, twenty years since, had scarcely ventured beyond earshot of the bells of their native village, have now travelled to the county town—to London, that cynosure of the rural eye-or have visited all their friends within a hundred miles ; while the dwellers in the noisy city, in the busy marts of trade, have traversed the land hither and thither, viewing the wonders of art with enchanted eye, and the wonders of nature with thankful spirit, and have experienced the gladness of feeling which fair landscapes and fresh breezes never fail to inspire. Without railways the Great Exhibition would have been a mere local show: now millions of spectators, gathered from all lands, have seen the marvellous spectacle, and returned to their homes scarcely less astonished at the rapid locomotion of their journey than at the results of collected industry. Without railways, too, postal reform was a bird without wings. What printing did for the grand truths of the fifteenth century was done for brotherhood and commerce by rail

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