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The 19th century ushered in a new form of transport—railways. Journeys that previously took weeks were now completed in days. Distances that could only be covered in days on horseback or on horse-drawn wagons were now being covered in a matter of hours. All this was possible because of the steam locomotive, the hulky and bulky “iron horse” that could pull a dozen wagons behind it and cover great distances without fatigue. It was the locomotive that made railways a grand commercial success. Yet, railways had barely penetrated the British countryside when some railway pioneers began to wonder if trains could be made speedier and more efficient by getting rid of the locomotive altogether.

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Illustration of Dalkey Atmospheric Railway - Arriving at Kingstown.

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© Amusing Planet, 2018.



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