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The benefits of railways

Taken from the Annual Register, 1832.

Before the establishment of the Liverpool and Manchester railway, there were twenty-two regular and about seven occasional extra coaches between those places, which, in full, could only carry per day 688 persons. The railway, from its commencement, carried 700,000 persons in eighteen months being an average of 1,070 per day. It has not stopped for a single day. There has occurred but one fatal accident on it in eighteen months. The fare by coach was 10s. inside, and 5s. outside - by railway it is 5s. inside, and 3s. 6d. outside. The time occupied in making by coach was four hours - by railway it is one hour and three quarters. All the coaches but one have ceased running, and that chiefly for the conveyance of parcels. The mails all travel by the railway, at a saving to government of two-thirds of the expense. The railway coaches are more commodious than others. The travelling is cheaper, safer, and easier. A great deal of traffic, which used to go by other roads, comes now by railway; both time and money are saved, though the length of the journey may be often increased.

The proportion of passengers carried by railway, over those carried by coach, has been as twenty-two to ten, in winter, and seventeen or eighteen to ten in summer A regiment of soldiers has been carried by the railway from Manchester to Liverpool in two hours. Gentlemen's carriages are conveyed on trucks by the railway. The locomotives travel in safety after dark. The rate of carriage of goods is 10s. per ton; by canal it used to be 15s. per ton. The time occupied in the journey by railway is two hours; by canal it is twenty hours. The canals have reduced their rates 30 per cent. Goods delivered in Manchester the same day they arc received in Liverpool. By canal they were never delivered before the third day. By railway, goods, such as wines and spirits, are not subject to the pilferage which existed on the canals. The saving to manufacturers in the neighbourhood of Manchester, in the carriage of cotton alone, has been £20,000 per annum. Some houses of business save £500 a year in carriage. Persons now go from Manchester to Liverpool and back in the same day with great ease. Formerly they were generally obliged to be absent the greater part of two days. More persons now travel on their own business. The railway is assessed to the parochial rates in all the parishes through which it passes; though only thirty-one miles, it pays between £3,000 and £4,000 per annum in parochial rates. Coal pits have been sunk, and manufactories established on the line, giving great employment to the poor; manufactories are also erected on the line, giving increased employment, and thus reducing the number of claimants for parochial relief. The railway pays one-fifth of the poor-rates in the parishes through which it passes; fresh coal-mines sunk, owing to facilities of carriage, and price reduced. It is found advantageous for the carriage of milk and garden produce; arrangements about to be made for milk to be carried fifteen miles at 1s. for ten gallons, (i.e. less than one farthing per quart). A great deal of land on the line has been let for garden ground, at increased rents. Residents on the line find the railway a great convenience, by enabling them to attend to their business in Manchester and Liverpool with ease, at little expense. No inconvenience is felt by residents from smoke or noise; and, on the contrary, great advantage is experienced by means of travelling, to and fro, distances often miles in half an hour for 1s. and without any fatigue. The engines only burn coke. The value of land on the line has been considerably enhanced by the operation of the railway; land cannot be purchased but at a large increase in price. Much sought after for building, &c. The railway company, in late purchases, have been obliged to pay, frequently, double the price they originally paid for their land. A great deal of land has been sold for building, at three times its former value. Much waste land on the line has been taken into cultivation, and yields a good rent.

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Last modified 4 March, 2016

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