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Railways The Making Of A Nation S01E01 Capitalism and Commerce

Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain’s expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and through to modern times.

Railways The Making Of A Nation Season 01 , Episode 01 – “Capitalism and Commerce”
The railways stimulated great changes to the nation’s economy. They also changed the way we do business, encouraging a new generation of mechanical engineers, skilled workers, managers and accountants! Originally, local railway entrepreneurs viewed trains as vehicles for shifting raw materials, stock and goods. But soon they discovered there was money to be made in transporting people. Places such as Derby became ‘railway towns’. Derby was central to the new network, and home to the engineers who made and maintained locomotives and carriages. However, the railway ‘boom’ of the 1840s also came with a ‘bust’. A new age of middle-class shareholders who invested in the railways soon discovered what goes up can also go down. Alongside this were stories of railway rogues and dodgy dealing. However, railway companies recovered from the crash and continued to develop as complex national business organisations – capable of building great structures such as the Ribblehead Viaduct in Yorkshire and St Pancras Station in London.

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