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The First Publically Subscribed Passenger Railroad (September 27, 1825)


On September 27, 1825 British engineer George Stephenson's Locomotion No. 1 (originally named Active), the first steam engine to carry passengers and freight on a regular basis, hawled its first train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR). The S&DR was the first publically subscribed passenger railroad.

"It was 26 miles (40 km) long and was built in north-eastern England between Witton Park and Stockton-on-Tees via Darlington and connected to several collieries near Shildon. Planned to carry both goods and passengers, the line was initially built to connect inland coal mines to Stockton, where coal was to be loaded onto sea-going boats. Much of its route is now served by the Tees Valley Line, operated by Northern Rail. It was also the longest railway at the time" (Wikipedia article on Stockton and Darlington Railway, accessed 02-01-2012).

About the same time as the S&DR opened for business British engineer Thomas Tredgold issued  A Practical Treatise on Rail-Roads and Carriages, Shewing the Principles of Estimating their Strength, Proportions, Expense, and Annual Produce . . . (1825), and British colliery and steam locomotive engineer Nicholas Wood issued A Practical Treatise on Rail-Roads and Interior Communication in General, with Original Experiments, and Tables of the Comparative Value of Canals and Rail-Roads (1825).  These books, both of which were published in London, were the first comprehensive works on railway engineering.

Dibner, Heralds of Science (1980) No. 182.