The Evolution of Transport Policy
The crowds which gathered in October 1829 to watch the Rainhill trials, which resulted in the choice of Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ for the Liverpool and Manchester railway when it opened a year later, would have been proud of the tremendous advances in transport which had already been made within their lifetime. As children some might have watched the construction of the Bridgewater Canal in the 1760s, in the same transport corridor between Manchester and Liverpool, signalling the start of the great era of canal building which by the end of the century had linked the Mersey first with the Trent and then with Thames and Severn in a network which laid down the essential transport infrastructure for Britain’s industrial revolution. Over the past decade or so the appalling state of the roads had been much improved by John Loudon Macadam’s better surfaces and Thomas Telford’s engineering on the London-Holyhead road, which together had reduced coach journey times between London and Manchester from four-and-a-half days with the first ‘Flying Coaches’ in 1754 to a mere eighteen hours and eighteen minutes by the ‘Manchester Telegraph’ in 1830 (Savage, 1966: 30). The canals and turnpikes were transporting goods and passengers more speedily and efficiently than before, but their monopoly position enabled them to charge excessive prices.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- British Railways Board (1963) The Reshaping of British Railways [the Beeching Report] (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
- Buchanan, C. (1963) Traffic in Towns: Reports of Steering Group and Working Group (London: Department of Transport).Google Scholar
- Gwilliam, K.M. (1964) Transport and Public Policy (London: George Allen & Unwin).Google Scholar
- Royal Commission on Transport (1930) Final Report, Cmnd 3751 (London: HMSO).Google Scholar
- Savage, C. (1966) An Economic History of Transport, 2nd edn (London: Hutchinson, 1966).Google Scholar