Railways as a national system were conceived in the 1820's. The system expanded spectacularly until it reached a maximum of 20,000 route miles. For a hundred years it almost had a monopoly of passenger and freight traffic, a monopoly ended in the 1920's as mechanical road transport developed. But railways- now at about half their maximum mileage –still are vital for passenger and very important for freight transport. The course will concentrate on the study of main line railways- notably from London to Glasgow and London to Penzance but there will be relevant diversion from them. The lectures will be copiously illustrated with colour slides taken since 1960.