The development of the Scottish railway system to 1844
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This thesis traces the development of the Scottish railway system from the horse-drawn waggonways of the eighteenth century to the eve of the railway mania of the mid-1840s. It includes discussion of most aspect, of railway history in the period, but concentrates on the planning and formation of the various companies, the problems and achievements associated with the construction of the railways, and their financial record up to 1844, The first chapter considers the waggonways created between 1722 and 1824, generally by mineral proprietors, for the conveyance of coal either to water transport or to ironworks. From the limited available evidence an attempt is made to analyse their impact on coal traffic, particularly: to the cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and to estimate their costs of construction. More detailed examination is then made of the abortive early nineteenth century plans for long distance waggonways not entirely dependent on mineral traffic. In the 1820s the advent of the locomotive, the greater length of most lines, a substantial increase in traffic volumes, and a consequent increase in costs led to greater capital requirements, wider share ownership, and the need for parliamentary authorisation and compulsory powers for land purchase. The result was the coal railways, concentrated principally in north Lanarkshire and for the first time offering a direct challenge to the canals, which are discussed in chapter 2. Chapters 3 and 4 concentrate on the inter-urban lines authorised after 1835 the central belt and in Angus. These lines, influenced by the example of the Liverpool & Manchester, moved away from the earlier concentration on minerals to a more varied freight traffic and in particular to catering for large numbers of passengers. Chapter 3 discussed the projectors of the lines, the problems of promotion up to the time of parliamentary authorisation and, by examination of company subscription contracts, the sources of finance. Chapter 4, based on a detailed analysis of company accounts, examines the wide discrepancies between original estimates and eventual costs by considering the various subsections of constructional expenditure - parliamentary costs, land, engineering, works, rolling stock and so on. Also examined is the record after opening on current account, with reference in particular to the level of working expenditure and to the boom in passenger traffic; comment is also made on difficulties caused by government taxation policy, by Sabbatarian pressures, and by inter-action with road and water transport. The various projects to link Scotland and England by rail are discussed in chapter 5. The obvious desire for a trans-border line was complicated by uncertainties over routes, engineering difficulties, limited traffic prospects, and the common belief that not more than one such line could be made to pay. Even so three lines had been authorised by 1846, and in this chapter the chronological bounds of the study have been slightly extended to include the creation of the Caledonian and the Glasgow Dumfries & Carlisle. The final chapter ties together the main threads of the argument, briefly examines the effect of English influences and the limited economic impact of these early lines, and looks forward to the railway mania.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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