Britain 1815-1851 - The Railways

In GCSE History students will learn about the developments made in Britain in the early part of the 19th Century. One aspect they will look at is the arrival of the railway.

In the mid 19th Century the railway rapidly became the main form of transport in Britain. Its development was led by a remarkable group of engineers and entrepreneurs, including George Stephenson and George Hudson.

Learn more about the development of the railway in 19th Century Britain by playing this quiz.

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  1. Stephenson's gauge for his track was fixed at 4 feet 8 inches. What name was given to this gauge?
    Other widths were tried but Stephenson's original measurement stood the test of time. It is used still throughout the world today
  2. What is the importance of William Huskisson in the history of Britain's railways?
    Huskisson was a politician who took an early interest in railways. He liked to be present at the unveiling of new lines and it was at one such occasion that he was run over by a train
  3. How many miles of railways did Britain have (to the nearest 500) by 1850?
    The huge growth in railways in Britain by 1850 is remarkable given the paucity of tracks only twenty years before
  4. Which of the following did not become a major railway centre during the nineteenth century?
    With the railways themselves came railway centres - towns where factories and workshops grew, making and repairing locomotives, wagons, carriages and the like
  5. "God's Wonderful Railway" was the nickname of one of the companies that emerged during the nineteenth century. What was its proper name?
    The nickname stuck, for the track was a wonder of modern engineering
  6. At which Central London railway terminus was a fine classical arch erected in 1837?
    The arch was a major feature of this station until the mid-twentieth century, when it was demolished
  7. Which two cities were connected in 1830 when the first inter-city line to use steam locomotives was opened?
    After this ceremony railway building in Britain proceeded apace
  8. At the famous Rainhill Trials in 1829 Stephenson's entry won. What was the name of this locomotive?
    Winning this race gave a real boost to Stephenson's career and he began to plan further railway enterprises
  9. Which railway engineer and entrepreneur designed and built the 2 mile long Box Tunnel in Wiltshire on the line between Swindon and Bristol?
    This line was a major engineering achievement, with many tunnels, bridges, embankments and cuttings
  10. What nickname was conferred on George Hudson on account of his dominating position in the railway industry during the middle of the nineteenth century?
    Hudson was a businessman rather than an entrepreneur. Eventually he became mired in allegations of fraud

Author: Edward Towne

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