The Victorians risked more than just delays when boarding a steam train . . .
Victorian inventors certainly didn’t lack steam, but while they squabbled over who deserved the title of ‘The Father of the Locomotive’ and enjoyed their fame and fortune, safety on the rails was not their priority. Brakes were seen as a needless luxury and boilers had an inconvenient tendency to overheat and explode, and in turn, blow up anyone in reach.
Often recognised as having revolutionised travel and industrial Britain, Victorian railways were perilous. Disease, accidents and disasters accounted for thousands of deaths and many more injuries. While history has focused on the triumph of engineers, the victims of the Victorian railways had names, lives and families and they deserve to be remembered . . .