The Midland Railway: Its Rise and Progress
Frederick Smeeton Williams (1829-86) was a Congregational minister and pioneering railway historian. His first major transport work, Our Iron Roads (1852), enjoyed significant popularity, reaching its seventh edition by 1888. This, his second such effort, first published in 1876, is a lively history of the incorporation and development of one of Britain's first major railway companies following the earliest large-scale railway amalgamation of the Victorian age. Including 123 illustrations and 7 maps, this book is especially valuable for its contemporary description of the building of the Settle and Carlisle line, a notoriously difficult and expensive route to construct, with costs reaching £3.8 million by the time of its opening in 1875. Williams's spirited style lends colour to his portrayal of the Midland Railway's beginnings, its increasing competitiveness and the everyday concern of railway operations, making this an engaging resource for historians of transport, business and engineering.