Early Railways: Review and Summary of Recent Research

Author(s): Neil Cossons, David Gwyn

This study, commissioned by Historic England, reviews the current literature and summarises the wider state of understanding of early railways with a view to recommending future research and publication and to offer guidance on potential designation. It is intended to offer a way forward that is practical and achievable. The most important conclusion is that a wide-ranging survey of early railway heritage assets should be undertaken. This should embrace field evidence, documentary sources and collections held in museums. It could build on the existing corpus of knowledge and the expertise of those people already committed to the study of the history and archaeology of early railways. The objectives have been to define and further refine our current understanding of early railways, identify the most significant material evidence and – in particular – those elements at risk; to offer guidance and set out priorities for future designation assessment; and to propose methodologies for achievement of these aims. The authors’ view is that the history and archaeology of early railways deserve more serious consideration than has hitherto been the case and we put forward practical proposals on how this can be achieved with the extensive involvement of volunteers under clear and co-ordinated management.

Report Number:
Research Report
Industrial Heritage Railway Transport


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