09 February 2008
Ill-Used Traveller
Rob Fisher
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Entrance to the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden

I visited the London Transport Museum in January.  On display was this letter from “Ill-Used Traveller” to the editor of the Times.

Your excellent suggestion in a leading article this morning to have more frequent trains into the country, in order to develop residential traffic, will, I much fear, have little or no effect with the traffic managers to whose care our travelling convenience and comfort on the Mid Kent line are unfortunately entrusted, unless you can so agitate this matter, so important to so many of us now who live out of town, that Parliament will step in and free the national highway, as the railway now is, from the selfish obstructions thrown in our way by the quarrels of rival companies and other causes.

The letter was written in 1864.  Demands for the government to solve problems go back further than I thought.

Also at the museum I learnt about compensation to watermen on the opening of Westminster Bridge in 1750, Parliamentary trains, and Metro-Land.

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  1. Interesting stuff. reading around in Victorian lit (especially George Eliot’s Middlemarch), you get a real sense of old modes of transport (e.g. horseback or horse and carriage) being associated with characters whose time and place is up and train travel with the those (good or bad) who represent modernity - the last thing I was expecting was that there would already be complaints about irregular rail services by the 1860s.

    Posted by railway sleeper on  03 March 2008 at 04:54 pm

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