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If you want to find more about the history of the British Rail, then you should find the story of how people traveled in the post-war period in the UK. Rail travel not only that influenced the history of Britain, but it transformed the relationship the island established with the rest of the European countries. The rail technology developed by the British Rail in the 19th century had a huge impact on people’s lives, some people compare it with the impact the internet has today.

In the 19th century, the railway system was the main factor that influenced the way connections were established. It brought new opportunities for the commercial industry, but it also damaged the effectiveness of some industries. When an industry is destroyed, the community built around it also experiences difficulties.

The railway system was considered a source of inspiration

The evolution of the railway system served as inspiration for literature, film, and art. An example is the novel “Dombey and Son”, written by Charles Dickens. It includes a description of a train, seen like “a type of the triumphant monster, Death”. Another example, of how the trains influenced the art world can be seen in Monet’s “The Gare St-Lazare”. It shows the effects the light and steam of the trains have, and how they influence the atmosphere. The train has become the main theme in the culture of the moment; it appeared in famous songs like Elvis Presley’s “Mystery Train”, Johnny Cash’ “Folsom Prison Blues”, Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express”, and James Brown’s “Night Train”.

The train influenced the way companies were selling their brands

In the 19th and 20th centuries, multiple companies ran the railway system in Britain. The difference between the present railway system and the past one is that nowadays the state pays a subsidy to the private companies that run the railway system.

Because the train was a new thing on the market, the providers had to find new marketing strategies to attract clients. This was one of the main factors that led to a sophisticated public relations industry, the companies have started to invest more in advertising, and their campaigns can be considered the base of the marketing projects companies plan nowadays. They used books, brochures, and posters to promote their routes. For example, the GWR had only one major city that drew clients, Bristol, therefore, they had to find new strategies to remain competitive on the market. They designed “The Holiday Line” and they transformed some average areas into holiday destinations. The North Wales was named “the British Tyrol” Cornwall was named “The Cornish Riviera: and the Chalfont Country and the Thames Valley were named “Rural London”.

Their promotional campaign has effects even in the present; the areas are still considered holiday destinations. Also, their advertising made people want to move into an area where they can stay away from the smoke and din of the capital, therefore they moved in the destinations suggested by GWR.

The way people perceived the UK’s geography changed

The railway system brought multiple advantages; the trains were used not only to allow people to travel easier from a location to another but also to transport goods and information. It was a matter of hours, people and goods to get from a point A to a point B.

The experience was real, and the geography as people know it started to change and to get new forms. The towns were changing; they were no longer independent locations. In the past, people found it difficult to exactly point out where a certain town is located. The railway system connected towns, and it made them more active in the social and cultural scene. The railway’ system required towns to be in a constant dependence one to another. As the length of the railway system grew, the need for metal fabrication increased. Metal manufacturing companies were in great search.

People were able to move easier

The railway’ system is crucial in the present society because it is one of the main means; people use to get to their workplace. When it was first developed, the train was one of the easiest and fastest ways people could use to carry their labor. The persons who had access to a train station, and who were able to get to their workplace with it benefited from a great advantage. The merchants from Bristol, for example, had a single purpose, to get their goods to London. The initial founders of the Great Western Line have decided to invest in a railway system that allows them to connect their city with London. The train offered them the possibility to move goods between the two towns, faster than if they would use the canal. The railway system brought them an advantage in their competition with Liverpool; they were able to perform better in the transatlantic trade. Their funds went directly to a metal pressing company to manufacture the needed parts for constructing the trains and the railway paths needed to facilitate the trade.

The GWR generated public outrage

The Great Western Railways preferred to offer their services to the aristocratic clientele. They have designed a special waiting room at Paddington, where the royal family could sit when they traveled to and from Windsor. They were not interested in offering benefits to working-class travelers.

Actually, they generated public outrage when they considered the working-class travelers as “goods passengers”. People were reduced to the status of goods, and they had to travel in open freight cars, pulled by slower trains. The incident from the Christmas Eve 1841 was the peak of the outrage; a train pulled 2 crowded wagons and 17 lades freight cars. It derailed, eight passengers died, and 17 were seriously injured. This incident, together with other similar ones led to a law being passed in 1844 that required railway companies to provide at least one train with covered carriages daily, to serve the needs of the working-class travelers. Also, the law decided the rate for one trip to not be more expensive than a penny a mile.

The growth of the railway system had a great impact on people’s lives, it changed the way they worked, they traveled and the towns where they lived.