Lives of the Engineers: The Locomotive George and Robert Stephenson
Since the appearance of this book in its original form, some seventeen years since, the construction of Railways has continued to make extraordinary progress. Although Great Britain, first in the field, had then, after about twenty-five years’ work, expended nearly 300 millions sterling in the construction of 8300 miles of railway, it has, during the last seventeen years, expended about 288 millions more in constructing 7780 additional miles. But the construction of railways has proceeded with equal rapidity on the Continent. France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Holland, have largely added to their railway mileage. Austria is actively engaged in carrying new lines across the plains of Hungary, which Turkey is preparing to meet by lines carried up the valley of the Lower Danube. Russia is also occupied with extensive schemes for connecting Petersburg and Moscow with her ports in the Black Sea on the one hand, and with the frontier towns of her Asiatic empire on the other. Italy is employing her new-born liberty in vigorously extending railways throughout her dominions. A direct line of communication has already been opened between France and Italy, through the Mont Cenis Tunnel; while another has been opened between Germany and Italy through the Brenner Pass,—so that the entire journey may now be made by two different railway routes (excepting only the short sea-passage across the English Channel) from London to Brindisi, situated in the south-eastern extremity of the Italian peninsula. During the last sixteen years, nearly the whole of the Indian railways have been made. When Edmund Burke, in 1783, arraigned the British Government for their neglect of India in his speech on Mr. Fox’s Bill, he said: “England has built no bridges, made no high roads, cut no navigations, dug out no reservoirs. . . . Were we to be driven out of India this day, nothing would remain to tell that it had been possessed, during the inglorious period of our dominion, by anything better than the ourang-outang or the tiger
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