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Title: Remarks on the proposed Railway between Birmingham and London
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Remarks on the proposed Railway between Birmingham and London" ***

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Transcribed from the 1831 Effingham Wilson edition by David Price, email

                               THE PROPOSED
                          BIRMINGHAM AND LONDON.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *


                               PUBLISHED BY
                     THOMPSON & SONS, MANCHESTER; AND
                       G. & J. ROBINSON, LIVERPOOL.


                         [_Price One Shilling_.]

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

                        PRINTED BY RICHARD TAYLOR,
                      RED LION COURT, FLEET-STREET.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *


WITHOUT minutely inquiring into the origin of the different modes of
conveyance at present existing in this country and others for passengers
and goods, I shall content myself with asking, Why were canals first
established? and What was the great benefit arising from them, which
caused so much as fifteen hundred miles in extent to be executed in less
than a quarter of a century, at a cost of nearly twenty millions of
money, and for the most part during a time of war, when the highest rate
of taxation prevailed?

Previously to the establishment of canals,—roads, waggons and horses were
the means employed for the conveyance of goods; and the speed which they
accomplished was greater than the average speed afterwards obtained by
canals.  But notwithstanding this advantage, it was found, that to carry
a ton weight of grain, coal, or merchandize one hundred miles cost
upwards of 6_l._  Hence materials and goods, whose weight bore a great
proportion to their value, could only be conveyed a few miles from the
spot where they were raised or manufactured; and thus, sources of wealth
that have since been highly productive and profitable were shut up and
useless.  Baron Dupin in his excellent work on the Commercial Power of
Great Britain, published 1825, states, “Up to 1756 England had not a
single line of artificial navigation; she possessed for communication by
land, only a small number of roads injudiciously cut and ill kept up.  Of
a sudden an individual conceives the idea to profit by the general
impulsion which industry had received, by cutting a canal to carry to
Manchester the product of his mines.  Shortly afterwards, a town which
thrives, and of which the exuberant wealth seeks everywhere productive
outlets,—Liverpool,—aspires to still higher designs.  She is the first to
form and realize the project of opening a navigable channel between the
Irish Sea and the German Ocean.  Other channels even more extended are
opened by degrees: thus, within the short space of half a century, a
double row of canals is formed, both for great and small navigation, for
the purpose of uniting together opposite seas; basins separated by
numberless chains of hills and mountains; opulent ports; industrious
towns; fertile plains; and inexhaustible mines;—and this presents a
development of more than a thousand leagues in length, upon a portion of
territory not equal to one-fourth of France!  The roads which already
existed are enlarged, are reconstructed with more art, and kept up with
more care.  New channels are thrown open to commerce, and a system of
roads is now being formed, of which the total length is at present (1825)
more than 46,000 leagues in England alone.  Thanks to these works, at
this moment, in the three kingdoms, 22,300 merchant-vessels, manned by
160,000 men, and capable of carrying two millions of tons of merchandize,
are scarcely sufficient for the exportation of the superfluity of
interior circulation, for the trade along the coast, and for the
importation of those foreign products necessary to keep up a circulation
so immense.”

As further instances of the effect produced by the same causes,—in 1740,
before the establishment of canals, the iron manufactured in England and
Scotland employed 59 furnaces, which produced annually 17,000 tons.  In
1827 there were upwards of 280 furnaces, with an annual produce of
690,000 tons; during the intervening period canals were cut, connecting
the iron districts with large towns and the ports.  In 1750 there was but
one smelting furnace in Staffordshire, making less than 2,000 tons of
iron per annum.  In 1827 there were 97 furnaces in that district only,
making 216,000 tons per annum.  The population of Staffordshire in 1750
was 160,000; it is now upwards of 350,000.  In England in 1750 it was
6,017,000; it is now upwards of 13,000,000.

The total amount of the exports in 1750 was 7,772,039_l._; in 1824 it was
56,234,663_l._  In 1760 the number of ships assessed in Liverpool was
1,245; in 1824, it was 10,001.  These statements are sufficient to show
the changes consequent upon the introduction of canals.  It was found,
that one horse upon a canal could convey twenty times what he could upon
a road; and that what formerly cost six pounds to send a hundred miles,
could by canals be sent for little more than one pound.  Such is the
traffic upon the Birmingham Canal alone, that at some periods there is a
weight of goods and materials brought by 150 horses and boats, in one
day, which by the roads would require 3,000 horses and 1,000 waggons.  We
find again that the population has more than doubled itself in three
principal inland towns, viz. Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds, since the
establishment of canals.

But notwithstanding the advantages that have attended upon the
introduction of canals, there are limits within which their utility is
confined, and, as regards despatch, much confined.  The canals as they
are now constructed are adapted only to horse power, and are subject to
the inconvenience of that slowness of travelling which arises from the
great increased resistance of fluids to bodies moving in them, with only
a very slight increase of velocity.  Two horses may take a loaded boat of
twenty-five tons at the rate of four miles per hour; but to obtain a
velocity of twelve miles per hour, it would require twenty-seven horses.
It is found that with a velocity of six miles per hour so great a surge
or swell is produced in the water as to hazard the sinking of any boats
that are passing.

The stoppages arising at the locks is very considerable.  In the canals
between Birmingham and London, every means are used to effect despatch;
but still the quickest passage for the fly-boats is sixty hours.  The
distance is 153 miles, and there are 142 locks; nearly one-third of the
time is lost in passing them; and while this is being done, one horse and
four men are comparatively idle; the expenses of wages and keep however
are going on.  These expenses are incurred more particularly by the
haulage; but in addition to them the tonnages are very high, and of
necessity so, since the repairs of so many locks, cleaning and repairing
canal, and above all, the raising of water to the summit-levels by
steam-engines, must incur a great expense.  The cost of this last
operation may be guessed at, when it is known that for every boat that
passes from London to Birmingham, a body of water of 120 tons weight has
to pass through a difference of level of 1,140 feet.  And yet in dry
summers, notwithstanding the pains thus bestowed, the boats are
frequently detained, for want of water, twelve, eighteen, and twenty-four
hours in one trip.

Much, then, as the canals surpass the common roads, it appears that much
remains to be done, if their peculiar disadvantages can be got rid of.

The economy of steam compared with horse power is too well established to
need many comments.  The expense of working a twenty-horse power
steam-engine is known to be less than one-sixth of the cost of twenty
horses and men to attend them.  I appeal to the proprietors of the
thousands of steam-engines now in use for the truth of this statement.
Does not, then, a question at once arise, Whether it is not possible to
construct a road of some kind upon which this great and cheap power may
be made to act, instead of horses, and with as great a degree of profit?
We rejoice that the question has suggested itself, and that it has
received an answer.  The application of steam to the purpose of
locomotion has been proved upon a rail-road between Manchester and
Liverpool.  Moreover, the economy of steam power when applied to rapid
progression is found to be much greater than when it is employed to
supersede the horse-mill.  In this the animal is not driven beyond his
speed, but is allowed to move at a rate of two miles and a half per
hour,—a speed which he can continue to perform for eight or ten hours per
day.  A horse is found to perform the greatest quantum of work when
moving at this rate, and to be employed most economically.  But even
compared with this, we have seen that an equal effect may be produced by
steam power at one-sixth the cost.  With how much greater advantage and
profit, then, can steam be applied, where it is made to supersede the use
of horses in rapid motion, of eight or ten miles per hour! at which work
it is known they can continue but one hour per day, and even then they do
not live to half the age of the horse employed at the slower speed.  It
is a fact, that horses employed in the fast coaches and for the fly-boats
require renewing every four years.  Can steam power, then, be used to
produce this rapid motion?  One hundred thousand persons that have passed
from Liverpool to Manchester in less than two hours since September last,
can answer this question in the affirmative.

Another great advantage of the railway over the common road is the much
greater safety that it offers.  The above number of passengers have been
conveyed with scarcely an accident.  Is there a line of turnpike-road in
the kingdom that can make the same boast, where an equal number of
passengers have travelled?  The general causes of accident upon a common
road, such for instance as the horses taking fright, the coachman losing
command over them, the coach running against some obstacle in the road,
or upsetting, cannot happen upon a railway.  The engine can exert no
_additional_ force without the consent of the man who superintends it;
one carriage cannot meet another, as there is a separate line for
carriages travelling in the opposite direction; and even if a wheel
breaks, the carriage is so low that it would not upset.  The only
objection that is started on this head, is the bursting of the boiler:
this is now constructed with a number of small tubes, through which the
fire passes, and which are all inclosed in a strong iron case; so that if
one of these small tubes burst, it immediately acts as a safety-valve,
discharging the steam of the boiler into the chimney, and removing the
apprehended danger.

Here then we have safety and despatch, and we may next consider economy
in travelling.  In this respect the public have also found an advantage.
The charges by the Liverpool and Manchester railway are not half what the
coaches formerly charged, the fares being but 3_s._ 6_d._ and 5_s._ each.
And the effect produced is, that the average number of passengers by the
railway is upwards of 1,000 per day.  The average number by the coaches
the preceding year was only about 500 per day, paying 7_s._ outside and
12_s._ inside.  Goods are now taken in three hours, and at a charge of
11_s._ per ton; they were before thirty-six hours on the
water-conveyance, at a charge of 15_s._ per ton.

Having then referred to what has been done upon a line of railway from
Liverpool to Manchester, with a profit to the proprietors and great
benefit to the public, let us inquire whether there is the same want of
an improved conveyance from Birmingham to London.  We will first consider
the amount that is now paid, and the time that is now required for
conveying both goods and passengers.  The amount paid for the conveyance
of passengers and goods between Birmingham and London is upwards of
800,000_l._ per annum; more than half of which is comparatively at a high
rate, as will be seen by the following statements.

The charges by coaches for passengers are 42_s._ inside, and 21_s._
outside, and for parcels 1_d._ per pound.  By waggon, the charge is 5_s._
per cwt.  By fly-boat, for packages and general merchandise, 60_s._ per
ton; and for iron-castings in boat-loads, 32_s._; for pig-iron, 25_s._
per ton.  Thus the coach charge for luggage, at ten miles per hour, is
1_s._ 9_d._ per ton per mile; waggon charge, for a rate of three miles
and a half per hour, is 10¾_d._ per ton per mile; and goods by fly-boat,
at two miles per hour, 6½_d._ per ton per mile; and the lowest rate for
pig-iron 2½_d._ per ton per mile.  These charges are calculated upon a
distance of 110 miles.

Twenty-two coaches pass daily each way, which, at              227,600
15_l._ per coach (the expense of working it), cost per
Goods per van and waggon                                        36,300
Goods per canal, paying from 40_s._ to 60_s._ per ton,         146,000
about 180 tons per day
                         Making a total annual amount of      £409,900

for only a portion of the business; as in the above statement none of the
coaching or posting that falls upon the Holyhead road, at Coventry,
Northampton, and many of the towns nearer London, is taken into the
account.  The above amount is calculated from what passes through
Birmingham only, and that exclusive of posting.

In addition to the above traffic, there are upwards of 2,000 tons that
pass daily through Birmingham, besides an equal amount upon the Grand
Junction Canal.  There is also the whole of the business that arrives at
the different towns upon the line; and it is ascertained that the
passengers by stage-coaches only that pass through the towns near London,
are upwards of four times the number that pass through Birmingham.  But
if it appears that a considerable profit would arise from conveying but a
portion of the business by a railway, it will be much more satisfactory
than if it were dependent upon the whole for an adequate return.  And
yet, as it appears that passengers are taken by this mode of conveyance
in half the time in which they can be taken by any other, and at half the
cost, and that goods are conveyed in one-sixth of the time and at a lower
charge, the great probability is that a considerable portion will
immediately be sent by it.

We will now inquire what would be the cost of conveying by a railway
between Birmingham and London, the passengers and goods which are now
paying by the roads and canals 409,900_l._ per annum.

It has been ascertained upon the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, that
the whole expenses of one engine, capable of conveying twenty-five tons
of goods 105 miles per day, at a rate of from ten to fifteen miles per
hour, including fuel, attendance, repairs, oil, grease, &c., is 500_l._
per annum.  Its eight waggons (the number required for 25 tons) at 30_l._
per annum each, involve a yearly expense of 240_l._  This, with the
500_l._, makes a total cost of 740_l._  We will take it at 800_l._ per
annum, which gives the following cost, on the supposition that each
engine takes but twenty tons:

For conveying 180 tons per day it would require ten              8,000
engines, which, with the waggons, cost 800_l._ each per
Supposing the present coaches to carry two tons each of          4,000
passengers and parcels, or a whole weight daily of
forty-four tons, which we will suppose requires four
engines; and taking the repairs of the coaches to be
double that of the waggons, or 60_l._ per annum each; it
will make a total amount of 980_l._, or say 1000_l._ per
annum, for the four engines and four sets of coaches
Goods per van and waggon twenty-six tons per day, which          1,600
we will also suppose require two engines
Supposing they are but two-thirds loaded, we will add to         4,400
the expenses

We then have a total cost of only 18,000_l._, exclusive of railway dues,
for conveying that by steam power which the public are now paying
409,900_l._ for conveying by horses upon roads and canals in one district
only.  This, as before stated, is only a portion of the business.
Supposing 2,000 tons of goods to be conveyed daily at 20_s._ per ton,
which is less than two-thirds of the present average charge; and taking
300 days per annum, we have 600,000_l._; that might be taken by 200
engines, which with the waggons would cost, at the rate of 800_l._ each,
160,000_l._ per annum.  Nothing is calculated here for the conveyance of
cattle, which may be reckoned upon, when it is known that the present
cost of conveying an ox from Daventry or Leicester to London, including
the loss of weight by driving, is 30_s._; and when it is also known that
a weight equal to an ox may be taken that distance in five hours for
7_s._  Sheep may also be taken at a proportionately low rate.  Another
great source of income and profit will arise from the conveyance of
carriages and horses, as both will be taken with ease and safety in
vehicles constructed for the purpose.

The question we will next consider is the amount of capital required for
making such a road.  The London and Birmingham Railway is stated at
3,000,000_l._  This is taken from the most accurate estimates; but for
the satisfaction of those who would like to have corroborative
statements, we will compare it with the cost of the Liverpool and
Manchester Railway.  This undertaking, it is stated, may cost, including
its carrying department and engines, carriages, &c., 1,000,000_l._; and
the railway is thirty-two miles in length.  (For particulars see
Appendix, No. I.)

The London and Birmingham Railway will be 105 miles in length; and
therefore, constructed on the same scale, and its cost calculated at the
same rate per mile, it would require, including every expense, rather
more than 3,000,000_l._  But it must be recollected that materials and
wages are at least twenty per cent. lower now than at the time the
Liverpool and Manchester Railway was constructing.  The cost of the rails
for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was 12_l._ 10_s._ per ton; they
may now be purchased for 8_l._ 10_s._ per ton.  The considerable
reduction that has taken place in the wages of labour must be taken into
account, particularly as three-fourths of the whole cost will be in an
expenditure of this nature upon the line.  The great reduction that has
taken place in all kinds of ironwork will tend to reduce the cost of the
engines, and the machinery required in the construction of the road.

It must not be forgotten, that the Liverpool and Manchester being the
first line of the same magnitude that had ever been constructed, many
expenses occurred, which are always attendant upon works of a new kind,
and which are much reduced when the same kind of work has to be executed
again.  It was formerly the opinion of those who are best acquainted with
these subjects, that railways might be constructed at as little expense
as canals: and when we consider that a canal requires a perfect level;
occupies an equal width of land with a railway; must have its embankments
made of materials impervious to water;—and when, again, it is known that
an expensive lock is required at almost every mile, as well as numerous
drains and reservoirs to collect the water from the surrounding country,
and powerful engines to raise the water from the lower to the summit
levels;—it does appear a natural supposition, that such a work must
require a greater outlay than a road, which, to a degree, has the
inclination suited to the level of the country over which it passes;
whose embankments, instead of being washed by a river, have only to carry
two or four bars of iron; and, moreover, in whose banks no injury from
leakage can arise to the country lying below it; which invariably happens
to land at the foot of canal embankments.

That funds will be provided for the London and Birmingham Railway far
beyond any amount expended in canals, will be seen by the following
statement:—In 1825, it is stated, there were in England ninety-seven
canals, the total extent of which was 2,471 miles, and the cost of which
was 30,000,000_l._; giving an average cost of about 12,500_l._ per mile.
The railway from London to Birmingham will be 105 miles in length, and
capital to the amount of 3,000,000_l._ will be provided for it: this
gives an average of upwards of 28,000_l._ per mile.  That the land in
this direction is more favourable to works of this kind than that in many
other parts of the country, is known by the canals that run in this
district costing less per mile than the average rate of others.  But even
if the Railway costs twice or three times as much as a canal, the
advantages that it has over a canal in its amount of traffic, and the
economy attending it, are in a much greater proportion than the increase
of its cost.

There are very few canals of any extent that can pass more than two
hundred tons of goods per hour.  The locks in general admit of but one
boat passing at a time, carrying from twenty to twenty-five tons.  Where
the greatest despatch is used, the average is not more than eight boats
passed per hour.  Here at once is a limit to the despatch of canal
conveyance.  Eight boats per hour, at an average load of twenty tons,
gives only 160 tons per hour as the greatest quantity that can be passed.
The average load of a fly-boat is but sixteen tons.

Let us now inquire what might be conveyed along a single line of railway,
on the supposition that a speed of ten miles per hour only may be
performed upon it.  The number of yards in a mile (1,760) multiplied by
the speed, gives 17,600.  A carriage for three tons of goods occupies a
space of four yards and a half; but we will suppose a space of six yards
is required, which gives two yards for each ton.  Then 17,600 (the number
of yards per mile multiplied by the velocity) divided by 2 yards, gives
8,800 tons per hour, on the supposition that the carriages moved in a
continuous train; but with a space between each train of carriages equal
in length to the train, we have half that amount, or 4,400 tons, that
might if necessary be conveyed upon a single line of railway: or, what
requires twenty-four hours to pass through the canal locks at Birmingham,
might be sent along a railway in one hour.  Thus it appears, that canals
are limited, in respect of the quantity of goods that can be conveyed
upon them, to less than 200 tons per hour; their greatest average speed
is less than three miles per hour, and for the slow boats one mile and a
half per hour; the general expense of haulage is 1_d._ per ton per mile;
they are subject to stoppages averaging five weeks per annum, from frost,
drought, and repairs.  A railway, on the contrary, may convey 4,000 tons
per hour, at a velocity of fifteen miles: steam propelling power costs
only one farthing per ton per mile, exclusive of the waggons; and the
stoppage that would arise from the breaking of a rail, would not be more
than one of half an hour.

Does not this show, then, that an infinitely superior conveyance is now
offered to the public, both for themselves and their goods?  An instance
of the support which the public give to quick conveyance, is afforded by
the facts, that in 1800 there were seven coaches from Birmingham to
London, and the average time was eighteen and twenty hours; that at
present there are twenty-two coaches, and the average time is twelve

Last year the number of passengers from Liverpool to Manchester was 500
per day, and the time occupied by the journey four hours.  Since the
opening of the Railway in September last, the average number has been
nearly 1,000 per day, and the time two hours.  The increase of passing
between the towns that have had steam communication has been in a much
greater proportion than the above.  Between London and Margate, Dover and
Calais, Liverpool and Dublin, Liverpool and Greenock, Stockton and
Darlington, the passing has increased nearly ten-fold since the
establishment of such improved conveyance.  It is calculated that the
whole number of passengers by steam-boats is one million and a quarter
per annum.  Can it then be expected that a steam communication from
Birmingham to London will be an exception? for there is not a line to be
found of equal extent in the kingdom on which the population is so great,
or on which the commercial and agricultural transactions are so
important.  As the utility of railroads may be considered established by
the one now in operation, it must be evident how desirable it is to
connect Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham, and ultimately other towns
in the North, with the Metropolis.  Supposing a railroad connecting these
important towns to exist, which might be considered as the chief line of
communication from the North to the South, there is a reasonable hope,
that shortly other roads would be proposed and executed, connecting the
remaining influential towns.  An expeditious, cheap, and secure
conveyance would thus be established throughout the country; so that in
all probability, the business that would be brought upon the main line by
these side channels would increase the whole traffic beyond what can now
be calculated upon.

It may be objected, that railroads would throw out of employment a great
number of people, who are now actively engaged, as coachmen, guards,
horse-keepers, boatmen, waggoners, &c.: but as all improvements which
tend to reduce the price of travelling and quick communication have led
to a different result, we may infer that the number of cross coaches and
short conveyances of all kinds that would be established to bring up
passengers and goods to the railway, would at once give employment to
these men.  We may take as a proof the present posting and travelling
upon the road from London to Dover, which was greater in 1829 than ever
it was known to be before, although in the same year upwards of 1,000
passengers were conveyed weekly from London to Calais by steam.  If
indeed there are some persons that will be thrown out of employment for a
short time, we must set against this the vast increase of labour that
will be given to mechanics and others employed in manufacturing the
engines and machines used on railways; for if these works go forward,
there will be immediate employment for tens of thousands of labourers,
and constant occupation in the workshop for double the number of hands
that for a time may be thrown out of work upon the roads or canals.  And
I would ask, Which is the more important member of the community, the
ingenious mechanic or the wandering boatman?

Let us again consider, that we are generating a new power, with the
consumption only of a mineral drawn from the bowels of the earth, while
we are saving the surface land to produce that sustenance which our
increasing population requires.  Every horse that is dispensed with,
saves the produce that would support six men; and it is calculated that
one-third of the grain consumed, is by horses {21}.  The immense surface
that is now required for the support of cattle may be conjectured, when
it is known that in England and Wales alone we have upwards of thirty
millions of acres in tillage, and that one acre may grow as much corn as
is consumed by three men in a year.  And yet we are in the habit of
importing a considerable quantity of grain!

It is unnecessary to establish by reasoning what is borne out by facts;
and I refer again to the railroad between Liverpool and Manchester, on
which goods and merchandise are now taken in one-tenth of the time and at
two-thirds of the former cost, and passengers in half the time and at
half the former charges by coach.  May not the same support be looked for
between London, and Birmingham, when the same advantages are offered?
May not also the support of Government be expected, when its sanction
only is asked to establish such a communication from one side of the
kingdom to the other, not a farthing to defray expenses being required
from it; at the same time that the capability is offered it, of sending
despatches from London to Liverpool in seven hours, or of transporting
twenty thousand troops the same distance within twelve hours, in case of

Though the capital required is considerable, yet I think the public may
be trusted in seeking out their own means of investment; they are in fact
only carrying _that_ principle to the establishment of an improved
conveyance at the cost of an old one, (an improvement in which many of
them are deeply interested,) upon which in their manufactories they
constantly act, when a machine that costs 100_l._ is supplanted by one
that may cost 500_l._, but which is found to perform ten times the work.
Why, I ask, may not 3,000 individuals associate themselves together to
apply to a public undertaking the mechanical power which they have found
so advantageous in their private establishments?  Why not extend to the
purpose of locomotion the power which has raised the manufactures of
Great Britain and Ireland to their present high state of improvement?  I
would ask those who oppose its extension to this new purpose, whether the
mechanical agencies of this kingdom, now amounting to the physical force
of ten times the population of England, would ever have been called into
action if the application of known powers and principles to fresh
purposes and uses had not at all times met with the fullest support of
the Legislature and the Public?

I would ask again, Whether the steam power that has been generated within
the last fifteen years, for propelling vessels exceeding the whole
physical force of the British navy, would have had birth, had the
principle been acted upon, of things remaining as they are?

                                * * * * *

_March_ 4_th_, 1831.


No. I.

_General Abstract of Expenditure of the Liverpool and Manchester
Railway_, _to the_ 31_st_ _of May_ 1830, [_from Mr. Booth’s Pamphlet_.]

                                     £      s.      d.           £      s.      d.
Advertising Account                                            332       1       4
Brick-making Account                                         9,724       4       4
Bridge Account [Bridges in number 63]                       99,065      11       9
Charge for Direction                                         1,911       0       0
Charge for Fencing                                          10,202      16       5
Cart Establishment                                             461       6       3
Chat Moss Account                                           27,719      11      10
Cuttings and Embankments                                   199,763       8       0
Carrying Department,            35,538       0       0
expended in Land and
Buildings for Stations
and Depôts, Warehouses,
Offices, &c. at the
Liverpool end
Expended at the                  6,159       0       0
Manchester Station
Side Tunnel, being the           2,485       0       0
approach to the
Crown-street Station
Gas-light Account,               1,046       0       0
including cost of Pipes,
Gasometer, &c.
Engines, Coaches,               10,991      11       4
Machines, &c.
                                                            56,219      11       4
Formation of Road                                           20,568      15       5
Iron Rail Account                                           67,912       0       2
Interest Account (balance)                                   3,629      16       7
Land Account                                                95,305       8       8
Office Establishment                                         4,929       8       5
Parliamentary and Law Expenditure                           28,465       6      11
Stone Blocks and Sleepers                                   20,520      14       5
Surveying Account                                           19,829       8       7
Travelling Expenses                                          1,423       1       5
Tunnel Account                                              34,791       4       9
Tunnel Compensation Account                                  9,977       5       7
Waggon Account                                              24,185       5       7
Sundry Payments for Timber, Iron, Petty                      2,227      17       3
Disbursements, &c. not included in the foregoing
                                                          £739,165       5       0

           _Extracts from the_ “_Observations_” _of Mr. Booth_.

“CUTTINGS AND EMBANKMENTS.—The Excavations consist of about 722,000 cubic
yards of rock and shale, and about 2,006,000 cubic yards of marle, earth,
and sand.  This aggregate mass has been removed to various distances,
from a few furlongs to between three and four miles; and no
inconsiderable portion of it has been hoisted up by machinery, from a
depth of thirty to fifty feet, to be deposited on the surface above,
either to remain in permanent spoil banks, as at Kenyon, or to be
afterwards carried to the next embankment, as at the deep rock cutting
through Olive Mount; the process in this latter case being rendered
expedient from considerations of increased expedition.  Where land for
the deposit of spoil banks has been purchased, the cost of the land forms
part of the expenditure under this head, and a good deal of substantial
and lofty walling in the deep cuttings is also included.”

“IRON RAIL ACCOUNT.—This expenditure comprises the following items:—

                                              _£_.        _s._    _d._
Rails for a double way from Liverpool to        48,000       0       0
Manchester, with occasional lines of
communication, and additional side lines
at the different Depôts, being about
thirty-five miles of double way,=3847
tons, at prices averaging something less
than 12_l._ 10_s._ per ton
Cast-iron Chairs, 1428 tons, at an              15,000       0       0
average of 10_l._ 10_s._
Cost of Spikes and Keys to fasten the            3,830       0       0
Chairs to the Blocks, and the Rails to
the Chair
Cost of Oak Plugs for the Blocks                   615       0       0
Sundry Freights, Cartages, &c. &c.                 467       0       2
                                               £67,912       0       2

LAND.—This is a heavy item of expenditure.  The price of land in the
vicinity of large towns is usually high; and the outlay was further
enhanced by numerous claims for compensation, owing to the prejudice
which a few years since existed against Railways, and especially against
what now appears their peculiar recommendation—the Locomotive Engine.  A
great change has taken place in this respect.  At the close of 1828, the
charge under this head was nearly 102,000_l._, but a portion of this
amount being for the depôts, has been transferred to the carrying

“The Directors, in their Report, dated the 25th of March last, estimated
the total expenditure, including Warehouses, Machinery and Carriages, at
820,000_l._, which may be apportioned as follows:—

                                              _£_.        _s._    _d._
Expenditure, as above, in actual               739,165       5       0
payments, to the 31st of May [1830]
Outstanding engagements to the same              7,500       0       0
For Walling the Slopes in sundry                 6,750       0       0
places, and completing permanent Road
For completing the Bridges, including            9,500       0       0
the Irwell, 6000_l._, and Parapets of
the Sankey Viaduct 1400_l._, and
compensation in lieu of Bridges
Additional Engines, Waggons, and                17,000       0       0
Machinery, part under contract for
Completing Stations, Wharfs,                    25,000       0       0
Warehouses, Offices, &c.
Fencing at sundry places                         3,000       0       0
Contingencies                                   12,084      15       0
     [Making total cost of Railway]           £820,000       0       0

No.  II.

_The Speech of the Rev. JOHN CORRIE_, _F.R.S._, _taken from the Report of
the Town’s Meeting_, _held in Birmingham_, _March_ 4_th_, 1831, _in
support of Railways_.

The Rev. J. Corrie said, that having been desired to introduce the
business of the Meeting, he had undertaken the task, from a conviction
that it would be no difficult thing to show the superiority of railways
to all the established modes of communication, and the benefits which the
town of Birmingham in particular would derive from that great national
line, which this Meeting had assembled to support.  It was quite
unnecessary to dwell upon the importance of safe, easy, and especially
cheap means of intercourse.  The whole history of human civilization
attested it.  Why did population first spread along the banks of great
rivers?  Why were the banks of the Euphrates and the Nile the seats of
the earliest civilization? the cradles of science and the arts of life?
Principally, if not entirely, from the facilities they afforded of cheap
and easy communication.  What raised Phœnicia to such high celebrity
among ancient nations?  Not a narrow strip of rocky territory, but its
position on the sea shore; not its abundant harvests, but its memorable
ports, its Tyre and Sidon.  The name and language of the Greeks were most
widely diffused; their numbers, their civilization, their progress in the
sciences, in the elegant and useful arts, were most marked, when in the
days of the Ptolemies they possessed the first mercantile city of the
world—Alexandria,—and had colonies on every little island and rocky
promontory in the whole circuit of the Mediterranean.  Or if we descend
to modern times, What raised Italy to its early commercial eminence but
the length of its indented coast?  What raised great cities on the banks
of the Elbe, or the Rhine, and carried manufactures into the heart of
Germany, but those great rivers?  What raised Flanders,—especially what
raised Holland, but its canals and sea-ports?  What in more recent times
has occasioned the rapid extension of people, wealth, and property
through the wide circuit of the United States, but the extent of its
navigable rivers; those rivers on which the transcendent utility of steam
navigation was fully established?  Or to come nearer home, What would
England be without her extent of coast, without her facility of carriage?
There are many still in the vigour of their faculties who have witnessed
the progress of this country during the memorable reign of George III.—a
period of rapid progress in numbers, in wealth, in power, and in all the
arts, with which no other period will bear one moment’s comparison.  How
much of this was owing to our turnpike-roads—to our canals?  What would
Birmingham, in particular, be without them?  What would be the value of
the mines of Staffordshire, in the very centre of the island, and without
a navigable river?  But the art and industry of man has surmounted every
difficulty.  Birmingham is not only connected with all the kingdom by a
system of excellent roads, but has a water-communication with London,
with Liverpool, with Bristol, with Hull; and it is from the opening of
these canals that you must date its great prosperity.  In 1760,
Birmingham had less than 30,000 inhabitants: by the last census it had
106,000; it has now probably 130,000.  Connected with the ocean, it is
connected with the world; its name is known wherever the name of England
is known; its useful and ingenious productions are spread over the
civilized and the uncivilized regions of the globe.  But how is it that
roads,—how is it that canals, have produced such wonderful effects?
Solely by affording the means of easy, of safe, of regular, of rapid, of
economical communication.  Which of your productions could have been sent
over Europe, which to America, to India, to China, loaded with the weight
of land-carriage from hence to the nearest of our ports?  At least how
few could have been either sent or sold!  But how superior in all the
particulars I have mentioned are railways to canals or turnpike roads!
The ease, the smoothness, is that of one smooth bar of iron revolving on
another; the motion of the best built carriage, on the best constructed
road, is comparatively rough and jarring.  You move with no more fatigue
than from sitting in your chamber.  Then for regularity,—here are no
interruptions from drought, none from frost, none from snow, none from
tedious periodical repairs.  In safety,—inquire, and you find in the last
six months upwards of 100,000 persons have passed between Liverpool and
Manchester without an accident.  Can you say the same of any equal length
of turnpike-road?  As for rapidity, this is truly astonishing,—this sets
all competition at defiance; this almost realises the extravagant demand
of the poet, that the gods would annihilate both space and time.  It will
condense the whole population of the kingdom, as to all purposes of
intercourse for business or amusement; while it spreads it over the whole
surface for purposes of healthful air and beautiful country scenery; and
we know not yet its maximum rapidity; but our gardens, our farms, above
all, our mines and manufactories, will be placed as near the great
sea-ports and the sea as if Birmingham was only 30 or 40 miles from
Liverpool or London.  But the great point of all is the economy: and
here, while we claim the right to assert a great economy, we may readily
allow that there may not have been sufficient time to estimate all the
expenses with which railways and engines of rapid motion may be attended.
But would the low prices have been fixed between Liverpool and Manchester
if the managers of this interesting establishment had not found they
could with justice to the proprietors take those reduced prices?  The
repair of engines appears great: average this on the quantity of work
performed, and you find the charge per passenger or per ton is a mere
trifle,—a fraction of a farthing.  We will however admit that more time
is necessary to ascertain the exact expense.  But we must not forget that
no great improvement is ever perfected at once: whatever be the expense
at first, may we not justly expect it will be reduced?—A curious paper
has been published on the power, or what is called the duty, of the
steam-engine in Cornwall.  You know that instrument is there used most
extensively to drain the deep and valuable mines.  At the earliest record
in the document to which I am referring, the quantity of water raised by
a bushel of coals is denoted by the number 5.  The attention of the
greatest engineers was drawn to this county.  The celebrated Smeaton made
considerable improvements; the memorable discovery which placed our late
illustrious neighbour Mr. Watt in the very first rank of benefactors to
his country and mankind, raised the efficiency of a single bushel to 25;
subsequently, I believe, still higher.  But since his time, merely by a
patient attention to every minute circumstance in the construction and
the working of the engine, without any new discovery, the duty has been
raised from 25 to 85 or 95.  Here is a progress, during no very long
period: and even were the expense of the locomotive engine ten or twenty
times greater than it is, there would be no reason to despair of its
economy.  Am I not justified then in contending that this town is most
deeply interested in the establishment of a railway to Liverpool and to
London?  It never was more deeply interested in any contrivance to
diminish the expense of carriage than at this moment.  What is the state
of the iron trade of Staffordshire?  What the prospect of that
industrious population which depends upon it?  A reduction of one half in
the expense of carriage, which the railways appear justly to promise,
would convert a bad trade into a good one; would give Staffordshire a
superiority over all competitors.  At this moment the remission of the
duty on sea-borne coals will narrow the market of the Staffordshire coal
trade.  The railway may not only restore the balance, but incline it in
favour of Staffordshire, whose mines lie nearest of any to the
metropolis.  But the superiority of railways is a question of fact; it
must be decided by actual experiment; and it has been decided by
experiment between Manchester and Liverpool.

But it is said, the railway may be a good thing for the country; but what
will it be for those who consume their capitals in forming it; what does
it promise to its proprietors?  In the first place, I would observe that
the common expression,—it may be good for the country and bad for the
proprietors,—expresses what never can be true: it never can be for the
good of the country that any capital should be so invested as not to make
an adequate return.  This is a matter of calculation.  Numberless
railways have been constructed, (though the application of the locomotive
engine is a comparatively recent improvement); and it must be possible to
form some judgment of the capital required.  It is true that in all great
works this is difficult, and we are often reminded of the original
estimate and ultimate expense of the Liverpool and Manchester railway.
But are railways the only works in which estimates have been erroneous?
Has it never happened in buildings, in roads, in bridges, in canals?  And
is it impossible for any care, and any caution, to avoid gross mistakes?
Be assured that no care will be spared on this subject by those who are
inviting the public to invest a capital of three millions; their
calculations are founded, not on the estimate, but on the actual
expenditure of the Liverpool and Manchester railway: they suppose theirs
_will cost_ as much as the other actually _has cost_.  Is that an
objectionable basis to build upon?  They pledge themselves to ascertain
the probable expense, and will not rest on the judgment of any one man,
however superior they may justly and confidently think him.

But a suspicion is whispered abroad, that the public are ill informed
respecting the actual expenses, the profits, and the prospects of that
railway, on which we ground all our plans and expectations; the
statements circulated are said not to be open, candid, and above-board.
Sir, I should be ashamed to enter on a justification of men so well known
to the world, of such high honour, such unsullied integrity as those
gentlemen, who are best known among the projectors and supporters of the
Liverpool and Manchester railway.  But if any one should still cherish
his suspicions,—what has been their conduct?  If they have deceived the
public, why did they continue to hold their shares after they had reached
100_l._ per cent. premium?  When they began to decline,—and they have
declined,—why did they still hold them?  Why are they among the first to
encourage similar undertakings in favourable situations?  Why were they
among the earliest, why are they among the greatest shareholders in those
railways, which are the object of our present meeting?  But they are
enthusiasts; they are blinded by their pre-conceived opinions, or by some
feeling of honour.  But are there not men at Liverpool, not connected
with them, and able to expose their misstatements, to unmask their
artifices?  Many;—and how are these disclosing their sentiments
respecting railways?  _By embarking in a new railway_, _carried very
nearly through the same line of country with that now at work_; for such
is that projected between Liverpool and Leeds.

With regard to the traffic on the lines connected with Birmingham, I am
not prepared on this occasion to go into detail; other persons well
informed on this subject will address you.  But look for a moment at the
canals between Liverpool and London, the Duke of Bridgewater’s, the Trent
and Mersey, the Staffordshire and Worcestershire, the great Birmingham
canal, the Warwick, the Napton, the Coventry, the Oxford, the Grand
Junction,—all of which have paid the proprietors amply, some enormously.
They sufficiently indicate the extent of traffic.  Add to this the
land-conveyance by coaches, chaises, private carriages, waggons, vans,
amounting at least to 300,000_l._ per annum, between Birmingham and
London;—add the cattle sent from Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, &c. to
the London markets, and which the railways will convey for less than the
value of the flesh lost in driving;—add those kinds of agricultural
produce which require a smooth and rapid transport.  In short, statements
have been made out by persons of no mean capacity, which show a profit so
ample as to render the reader incredulous from its magnitude.  There
probably may be error, but after rigid correction the return must be

Railways will no doubt be extended; and if they are what they profess to
be, the sooner the better: they will be extended wherever the traffic and
intercourse are great; and if we were to attempt to estimate the sum now
paid for carriage on all those great lines,—I know not what it is, what
it is supposed to be;—but be it a million, be it a million and a half, or
two millions, if we are rejoiced at the remission of a tax of four or
five hundred thousand per annum,—will the country derive no benefit from
being relieved from a tax of half a million or a million on the expenses
of conveyance?

The railways, which we are now considering, resting with one extremity on
the metropolis, extending thence by way of Birmingham, through
Staffordshire to Liverpool, and by Liverpool connected with all the north
of Ireland and west of Scotland, to the north of Birmingham sending off a
branch through Manchester to Leeds and the West Riding of Yorkshire,—will
connect all the greatest towns, all the greatest manufacturing districts
with each other and with the metropolis; and on the other hand, will thus
connect the metropolis with them; they will serve as the means of
intercourse among a population, which was of FOUR MILLIONS, when the
whole kingdom contained less than TWELVE, and this without any wide
deviation from the most direct course.  The distance by Birmingham is not
more than three miles more than the distance in a straight line from
London to Liverpool, not more than nine miles more than the direct
distance between Manchester and London.

[He had much more to say, but had already trespassed so long upon their
patience, that he would leave other topics to the many other
well-informed gentlemen who were prepared to address them.]

                                * * * * *

                                 THE END.

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

         Printed by RICHARD TAYLOR, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street.


{21}  Grain consumed in 1814:—

Man                             18,750,000
Animals                         11,829,000
Beer and spirits                 4,250,000
Manufacturing purposes             171,000
Making a total of               35,000,000

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