The Coming of the Railway

David Gwyn


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

Yale University Press
13 June 2023
ISBN: 9780300267891
416 pages

From the publisher

The first global history of the epic early days of the iron railway

Railways, in simple wooden or stone form, have existed since prehistory. But from the 1750s onward the introduction of iron rails led to a dramatic technological evolution-one that would truly change the world.

In this rich new history, David Gwyn tells the neglected story of the early iron railway from a global perspective. Driven by a combination of ruthless enterprise, brilliant experimenters, and international cooperation, railway construction began to expand across the world with astonishing rapidity. From Britain to Australia, Russia to America, railways would bind together cities, nations, and entire continents. Rail was a tool of industry and empire as well as, eventually, passenger transport, and developments in technology occurred at breakneck speed-even if the first locomotive in America could muster only 6 mph.

The Coming of the Railway explores these fascinating developments, documenting the early railway's outsize social, political, and economic impact-carving out the shape of the global economy as we know it today.