The “Train-ing” of Sherlock Holmes:

The Railway in Victorian England

By William A. Barton


Readers of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories needn’t be told the significance of the Victorian railway in the saga of the Master Sleuth of Baker Street. Trains are at least mentioned or alluded to in no less than 39 of the original Holmes stories — 41 if you count the terms “railway” and “special” (meaning a special train) — and Victorian England’s railways play a significant role in a number of those tales as well, if for no other reason than transporting Holmes and Watson from their usual confines of West London not only to its far-flung suburbs, but to such destinations as Dartmoor, Cornwall, Oxford, Sussex, and many others.

Think how different would have been the flavor of some of Holmes’ tales had the railway not have criss-crossed England by the late Victorian period. Only 50 years earlier, a British traveler’s main means of traversing the English countryside was via a network of stage coaches, which put the peripatetic soul at the mercy of rutted dirt roads, horses that needed to rest or be changed frequently, much longer journeys at far slower speeds, and, even in the Victorian age, the threat of the occasional highwayman. Consider: Could Holmes have ever made his narrow escape from Professor Moriarty in “The Final Problem” if he’d been forced to rely on coach and horses rather than the tireless iron horse of the British railway? Could he have arrived on the scene of many a crime in time to nab the culprit had he needed to make frequent stops to pay the toll on pre-Victorian England’s toll roads? Would the very atmosphere of the Holmes stories be quite the same without the white columns of steam, clouds of blackened cinders, and piercing whistle-cry of the sturdy British locomotive forming an integral part of their backgrounds? I think not.

And yet, a mere 50 years before the start of the Holmes saga in A Study in Scarlet, the British railway system was still mainly a dream in the eyes of a number of ambitious and far-sighted engineers. So how exactly did it grow from its humble beginnings to its status as the reliable tool of transportation used by Sherlock Holmes in the Canon? If you’ll take your ticket in hand and come aboard with me for the next few pages, your journey into the history of the Victorian railway will begin.


The Growth of the Railway in Victorian England

The birth of the Victorian era coincided almost directly with the rise of the railroad. The first rail line between major cities had already opened in 1830, between Liverpool and Manchester, and other fledgling railways were built within the decade preceding Victoria’s ascension to the throne in 1837. But many of Britain’s major rail lines were, in fact, built during the first decade of Victoria’s reign: for example, London-Birmingham, in 1838; London-Southampton, in 1840; London-Bristol, in 1841; and London-Glasgow, in 1848. Britain’s first railway boom was firmly underway by the 1840s, and the 1860s saw a second and even greater boom.

            The railway system of Great Britain grew immensely over the entire century, eventually connecting almost every major and minor city in the country. By the 1850s, for example, most major cities and industrial areas were connected by rail. By 1900, more than 18,500 miles of railroads covered Britain. Railway engineers became folk heroes during the period, idolized for their ingenuity and imaginative — yet eminently practical — designs. (Among the most famous of these early railroad engineers were Richard Trevithick, William Hedley, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and George and Robert Stephens.) And many towns throughout the country grew in size and importance primarily because of their ties with the railroads – among them Darlington, Crewe, and Swindon, where locomotives were built.

            The railroads brought many improvements to the lives of Victorians. Fresh food, for example, including fish and vegetables, could now be sent to distant markets and still arrive in edible condition. The railroads also heralded the rise of the holiday towns such as Brighton, Blackpool, and Margate, as more people gained cheap and easy access to these resort locations by rail. Letters and parcels could also be sent cross-country more quickly, and newspapers and magazines could now reach towns across the countryside while their news was still recent.

            The British rail system itself actually evolved from two separate technologies: the steam engine and the rail. The first steam-powered carriage was built in 1779. It consisted of a steam engine mounted on a heavy wooden wagon with large wheels. Although functional, it couldn’t move very well on the heavily rutted roads that cut through the countryside. Around the same time, others began experimenting with carriages that traveled on rails, although as with most other forms of transportation at the time, horses pulled these early carriages. (These horse-drawn railcars evolved into the horse trams that preceded the advent of the trolley.) In 1829, a contest had pitted a horse-drawn train against a steam engine — The Rocket, built by Robert Stephenson. As can be guessed, The Rocket handily won the contest, proving once and for all the worth of the steam engine. Soon thereafter, passenger and freight service by steam train first became available on the Liverpool to Manchester line, which, as noted previously, opened in 1830.

            Over the next decade, railroads began to trace their way across the landscape. In the 1840s, a hardy case of railway mania set in, and citizens of all classes were investing their savings into proposed railroads. Unfortunately, many of these railroad schemes were fraudulent, with the perpetrators collecting thousands of pounds for railroads they never intended to build. For those lines that were actually constructed, railway engineers had to survey the land closely and make up plans that depended on whether they could use the lay of the land or needed to cut tunnels or throughways through the local topology. The actual construction of these railways employed tens of thousands of laborers, known as navvies (a term derived from navigators, which was the title used for construction workers on Britain’s earlier canal system and one that eventually was applied to all common laborers). These navvies, who generally dressed in moleskin trousers and multicolored waistcoats with gaudy handkerchiefs around their necks, were a colorful lot who often went by such nicknames as “Fighting Jack,” “Gipsy Joe,” and “Thicklipped Blondin’.” (Not someone you’d probably want to get into a brawl with.)

            By 1850, some 6,200 miles of track were laid across Britain, with 18,000 miles laid by 1880. All the major towns and many of the smaller ones were now connected by track. The British government’s Railroad Commission made a rule, which quickly became law through an act of Parliament, that all lines must have at least one train traveling in each direction daily and stopping at all stops and that had at least one third-class car charging only a penny a mile. These Parliamentary Trains, as they came to be known, ensured that all but the very poorest could afford to travel by rail.

            The earliest train cars were designed along the lines of stagecoaches; some were, in fact, simply stagecoach bodies on which train wheels were mounted. Passenger cars varied in comfort on the early railroads in Britain. First-class coaches were fitted with black-leather cushions and rugs for use in the cold. Second-class coaches offered only stark wooden benches and a jarring ride, and third-class cars gave passengers an even worse way to travel. The earliest third-class cars had no roof overhead nor any seats. Third-class passengers stood the entire trip, holding onto a handrail. They were subject not only to the elements, but also to the smoke and cinders blowing from the engine. A traveler’s handbook of the period further spelled out the plight of third-class train travelers in advising men to hold onto their wallets during tunnel passages – and it also suggested that women hold pins in their mouths during such darkened transits to discourage male passengers from sneaking kisses. (Probably not the origin of the term “pinhead,” however.)

            Trains were continuously improved throughout the century, however, and many of the longer routes, particularly in Europe but also in England, attained reputations for luxury and service that were normally associated with those of the great steam-powered ocean liners. The well-known Orient Express, for example, which traveled from Vienna to Istanbul, was one such Continental train of renown toward the end of the period. By the 1870s, elegant Pullman carriages were in use throughout both Britain and the Continent, and most trains were also equipped with buffet cars and sleepers for their first-class passengers.

            As today, rail travel in Victorian England was not, however, without its hazards. All switching and signaling, for example, were performed manually, and even with the telegraph, miscommunications sometimes led to spectacular accidents. Charles Dickens once recounted his own experience in such an accident. Misreading a timetable, workers erroneously removed a section of track to make repairs on a bridge. Unfortunately, the train on which Dickens rode was scheduled to cross that bridge before the workers could complete their repairs. The train derailed, and all but the last of the first-class cars, where Dickens was riding, fell into a chasm. Dickens’ car was left hanging off the bridge until rescuers arrived. (I wonder how great his expectations of rail travel were following that nearly ill-fated trip . . .) In addition to potential accidents, train robbers weren’t at all exclusive to the American West during the 19th century, but were an ever-present threat wherever trains ran.

            In addition to their growth in the British Isles, railroads eventually opened up all of Europe, Asia, India, and even Siberia throughout the Victorian years (one holdout being Afghanistan, as those of you who’ve read my article on that country in the Victorian era may recall). The Victorian railroad became the focal point of numerous adventures, both fictional and factual. A moving train supplied an exotic locale that was frequently used by the short-story and novel writers of the day, primarily because it was so well-suited as a backdrop for tales of mystery, intrigue, and romance — as we readers of Doyle’s Holmes stories can readily attest.


The Railways in Victorian London

            As already noted, the advent of the railroad brought extensive changes throughout Victorian England, and nowhere was this revolution of steam more evident than in the capital of the British Empire — and home base of at least two particular sleuths whom we all know and love — London.

            The first cross-country railroads reached London in 1838 with the completion of the London-Birmingham line. This first incursion was, as noted previously, followed by the London-Southampton line, in 1840; the London-Bristol line, in 1841; and the London-Glasgow line, extending the Londoner’s reach by rail to Scotland, in 1848. (The city’s very first rail line had, in fact, been completed in 1836, running a mere four miles from the borough of Southwark, in South London, east to Greenwich, now an outer suburb of London but then a separate village lying to the southeast of the capital.)

            By 1851, the capital had extensive railways at its outskirts, although it wasn’t until the 1860s that these lines finally extended into the heart of the city, as Victoria, Charing Cross, Cannon Street, Broad Street, Blackfriars, and parts of Waterloo stations were constructed, along with the Holborn Viaduct, itself a marvel of modern railway engineering. By century’s end, some 800 acres of London real estate was devoted fully to railway uses.

            Towering viaducts were built up to roof level above the slums of London to take the rail lines through the poorer areas of the city and to avoid closing streets and building crossings at street level. Despite the use of these viaducts, however, rail construction displaced many of the poor, as the slums were torn down to built the railway structures – a situation that, unfortunately, resulted in even more overcrowding in the surrounding areas that were left untouched. Holborn Viaduct, in the City, was probably London’s best known such structure. It extended from Holborn Circus to Newgate Street — some 1,400 feet — and was 80 feet wide. It took six and a half years to construct and was opened in 1869, in a ceremony by Queen Victoria. The section that crossed Farringdon Street alone was a cast-iron bridge of three spans supported by 12 granite piers. It also contained the Holborn Viaduct Station (which, incidentally, was the very first structure in London to install electric lighting, in 1878, although it later reverted to gas lighting).

            By the time that most of the railway and depot construction was completed in the capital, all that was left totally untouched was an oval four miles wide and a mile and a half deep in central London, where the rail lines didn’t intrude. Unfortunately, this rail-free zone in the center of the city resulted only in even greater traffic congestion in the central oval from a rush of inter-station travel, as those switching from one rail line to another filled hansom cabs, four-wheelers, and other means of transportation to make their connections. The several bridges crossing the Thames were especially clogged with this railway traffic – a situation that continued even after the underground lines finally made their way under the metropolis’ river.


London’s Rail Depots

            A growing number of major railway stations and railways served London throughout Victoria’s reign. All of London’s depots were easily accessible by cab or omnibus, the latter being the Victorian equivalent of today’s double-decker motor buses. (After 1863, many of the city’s stations were also accessible via London’s underground railroad system.) To aid the Victorian train traveler in planning and completing his journey, Bradshaw’s Railway Guide published train routes and schedules monthly, as did several rival guides (although the savvy Victorian traveler — Sherlock Holmes, for example — knew Bradshaw’s to be the most thorough).

            By the end of the Victorian era, London had more than a dozen railway depots within its borders. Among these were, in alphabetical order:

            Cannon Street Station, which opened in 1866, was located on the Thames in the City of London (the Square Mile area that consisted of the medieval city and which was the heart of London’s financial district). Cannon Street Station was the London terminus of the South-Eastern Railway (a status that it shared with Charing Cross Station). In the Holmes saga, Cannon Street Station was mentioned in “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” you may recall, as the station from which Neville St. Clair caught the train home from his begging activities as Hugh Boone.

            Charing Cross Station, completed in 1864, was London’s other terminus of the South-Eastern Railway. It lay in Westminster, in London’s West End, between the Strand, which, as it remains today, was one of London’s major thoroughfares in the Victorian era, and the Thames Embankment — the built-up area of parks and walkways along the Thames. The station sat just southeast of Charing Cross Hotel and a block east of London’s ritzy Grand Hotel, where well-to-do train passengers often stayed while doing business in the capital. Charing Cross Station is mentioned in no less than six Holmes stories: “Abbey Grange,” “The Empty House,” “The Golden Pinz-Nez,” “The Illustrious Client,” “A Scandal in Bohemia,” and “The Second Stain” — perhaps due to its West End location and relative nearness to Baker Street.

            Euston Station was completed in 1837 in the north-central borough of St. Pancras. It became the London terminus for the London and North-Western Railway. It lay east of Regent’s Park (which itself was due north of Baker Street) and northwest of the British Museum. Oddly, in spite of its own relative nearness to Baker Street, Euston Station is one of only two of the capital’s major stations that are never mentioned in the Canon.

            Kings Cross Station served as the London terminus for the Great Northern Railway from 1852. It lay east of Euston Station in King’s Cross, an open area of central London at the north end of Gray’s Inn Road, which ran northward from one of London’s four Inns of Court (where English barristers studied for their profession). King’s Cross Station is mentioned only in “The Missing Three-Quarter” as Holmes’ and Watson’s departure point for Cambridge.

            Liverpool Street Station, which lay just north of the City (capital C), became the London terminus for the Great Eastern Railway on its completion in 1874. Right next door, to the west, lay Broad Street Station, opened in 1875 to link London with its northern suburbs. Liverpool Street Station is mentioned in “The Dancing Men” and — a story near to the hearts of all Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore — “The Retired Colourman.”

            London Bridge Station was built in 1836 in Bermondsey, south of the Thames and due south of London Bridge itself. (Bermondsey, by the way, was the center of the tanning industry in London, so any ill odors arising from the terminal itself probably smelled sweet in comparison to those of the surrounding areas.) This station served as the main London terminus for the London, Brighton, and South-Coast Railway. The South-Eastern and Chatham Railway also used the station. London Bridge Station figures in “The Bruce-Partington Plans” (although it’s the station’s underground terminal in that story), in “The Norwood Builder,” and in, again, “The Retired Colourman.”

            Paddington Station became the London terminus of the Great Western Railway. This station was constructed in 1838 and lay in the West End borough of Paddington. It’s mentioned in “The Boscome Valley Mystery,” “The Engineer’s Thumb,” “Silver Blaze,” and The Hound of the Baskervilles, where it’s the station from which Watson and Sir Henry Baskerville took the 10:30 train to Dartmoor.

            St. Pancras Station was completed in 1868 and also lay in the northern borough of St. Pancras. It was the London terminus of the Midland Railway. It lay just west of King’s Cross Station and east of Euston Station. The station incorporated as part of its structure the St Pancras Hotel, which was owned by the Midland Railway. Along with its eastward neighbor, St. Pancras is the only other major London terminal that’s absent in the Canon.

            Victoria Station, which opened in Westminster in 1860, was the great West End terminus of the South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. It lay just south of St. James Park. The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, as well as four suburban lines, also operated from Victoria Station. The Grosvenor Hotel was located at the station and was owned by the railways serving it. Victoria Station is mentioned in “The Final Problem,” “The Greek Interpreter,” “Silver Blaze,” and “The Sussex Vampire.”

            Waterloo Station, in Lambeth, south of the Thames, served as the London terminus for the South-Western Railway. It was first constructed in 1848 and rebuilt in 1900. Waterloo was the departure and arrival point for trains to and from points to the south and southwest, such as Horsham, Southampton, and Woking (the first and third of which, incidentally, played significant roles in H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds). Waterloo Station shares status with Charing Cross as the one most named in the Canon, in six stories: “The Crooked Man,” “The Five Orange Pips,” “The Naval Treaty,” “The Solitary Cyclist,” “The Speckled Band,” and The Hound of the Baskervilles.

            Other railway stations dotted London, among them Blackfriars Station, built in 1864 in South London and closed in 1886, after being replaced by St. Paul’s Station, in Central London, north of the Thames; Fenchurch Street Station, constructed in 1841, in East-Central London, north of the Thames; and Bricklayers Arms Station, completed in 1844, also in East-Central London, but south of the Thames. Numerous other smaller depots existed throughout London’s suburbs and outskirts — far too many to mention here, although quite a few receive credit in the Holmes Canon.

In addition to their value as departure points, London’s major railway depots were accompanied by hotels and other services for the benefit of the capital’s train travelers – telegraph offices that remained open all night, for example. (Such a service was handy for, say, the detective who may just have missed the departing train carrying his quarry, as he could telegraph to the next station and request a “greeting party” for his prey — one consisting of the local police.) Visitors to the city arriving by rail could also find many hotels huddled around the major rail depots of the metropolis. Many of the depots, in fact, had hotels built right into or next to the terminals: These included, as noted previously, the Charing Cross Hotel, in the Strand, at the Charing Cross railway station; the Grosvenor Hotel, in Victoria Station; and the St. Pancreas Hotel (originally known as the Midland Grand Hotel), next to St. Pancreas Station; other such lodgings included The Euston Hotel, at Euston Station; the Northern Railway Hotel, at King’s Cross Station; the Cannon Street Hotel, near the Cannon Street railway station; and the Metropolitan Hotel, near Liverpool Street Station.

London’s train depots also served another useful purpose beyond travel for the resourceful detective. The London terminals for the major and local railways were perhaps the best sources of information that one could obtain about passengers entering and leaving the city by rail.

            As a side note: To further service London’s railways, five railway bridges were built (or converted from earlier bridges) during the Victoria years: Cannon Street Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge (which actually consisted of two bridges, the easternmost known as St. Paul’s), Charing Cross Bridge (which replaced an earlier span known as the Hungerford Suspension Bridge), Chelsea Bridge, and Battersea Bridge.


Some Sample Railway Travel Times and Costs

To give you just an idea of how long and how much train travel cost the average Briton during Victoria’s reign, I’ll cite just a couple examples:

Travel by rail from Liverpool to London took from 4.5 to 8 hours, depending on the rail line taken, and cost from 16/6 to 29s. (16 shillings, six pence, to 29 shillings). A train trip (on what was known colloquially as the Boat Train) going from London to the ferry docks at Dover, which was the main departure point for a trip across the English Channel to the continent, took from two hours to three hours, 25 minutes, and cost from 6/5 to 19s. (six shillings, five pence, to 19 shillings), depending on the line taken. (The Channel crossing itself, from Dover to Calais, took from 1.25 to 1.75 hours and cost 8-10 shillings.)


Other Forms of Rail Travel In Victorian London

            The railways themselves, however, weren’t the only ways to get around Victorian London “by rail,” so to speak. A number of other rail-based mean of transportation availed themselves to Victorian travelers within the capital. Most prominent among these was the Underground railway system. (Although according to one source, it wouldn’t become commonly known by that term until about 1907, it is referred to as “the underground” in at least one of the earliest of the Holmes’ short stories — “The Red-Headed League.” The underground is also mentioned in “The Beryl Coronet” and “The Bruce-Partington Plans.”)


The Underground (the Tube)

By mid-century, most city planners realized that London needed new means of transporting passengers quickly and efficiently across the capital, beyond its rapidly congesting roads. The answer to the problem was what came to be known as the underground – a circular subway system connecting one end of London to the other. Construction began on the Metropolitan Railway, as the system was officially dubbed, in 1860. (The main terminal for the Metropolitan Railway was located at Baker Street Station, which was actually on Maryleborne Road at the north end of Baker Street; later in the century, it also lay next to Madam Tussaud’s Waxworks, which moved to that location from the Baker Street Bazaar in 1886. Oddly, despite its proximity to 221B, the Baker Street underground station receives no mention at all in the Canon.)

            By January 1863, the first leg of the underground was complete, linking the city’s three main railway termini – Paddington, Euston, and King's Cross stations. This initial line later joined with that of the Metropolitan District Railway, forming an irregular oval around the inner part of London that became known as the Inner Circle. (A further westward extension created the Middle Circle.) The Inner Circle wound around the center of London to Aldgate on the east, King’s Cross Station to the north, Paddington Station to the west, Victoria Station to the south, and then along the north bank of the Thames. The Middle Circle extended the route west to Kensington. Passengers could travel the entire circuit in about half an hour.

            The underground lines mainly ran through tunnels below city streets, but in some places, they ran in deep-cut open trenches between high walls. The early underground trains used conventional steam engines, which created an unhealthy atmosphere for passengers from the smoke, soot, and cinders that drifted back into the cars, having no place else to go in the narrow tunnels. Still, in its first year of operation, the system carried nearly a million passengers. Trains were soon running every 3-10 minutes at a mere 2d. (two pence) for any distance along the underground circuit — including the entire route – and the underground fast became the favorite method of travel for Londoners of limited means.

            Other railway companies eventually ran suburban trains out from Kensington into the northern areas of London, joining with the Metropolitan lines at their eastern and western approaches, as well as at Euston and King’s Cross rail depots. This Outer Circle ran west of Kensington and north, looping back to connect with Broad Street Station from the northeast. Work trains made trips into the city in the morning and out of the city in the evening, charging only a penny a trip for workers, while the normal rate for other passengers on this circuit ran from 2-4d.

            By 1890, electrically powered tube trains began running on the City and South London lines. These tunnels extended the Underground into the Mile Square and into South London, even running under the Thames itself. These electrified lines became known as the Tube. Soon after, tube trains began replacing the rest of the underground’s aging steam locomotives. The electric tube train, however, wouldn’t fully replace the venerable steam locomotives on the underground until the end of the century.


Additional Forms of “Rail” Travel

            In addition to the above-ground and underground railways, Londoners had two other ways to travel “by rail.”

Trams were similar to the horse-drawn omnibuses that ran throughout London but differed from them in that the horses pulling trams did so along set rails, or tramways, which were built right into the streets, much like later trolleys. The horses that originally pulled the trams, however, started being replaced by the late 1880s, first by steam-driven trams and then, in the 1890s, by electric ones. More than 147 miles of tramways had been laid in London by 1898. They radiated from the edges of the central City districts in all directions except west, and some 4,000 trams total operated along these tramways. The horse trams, as they were at first known, were cheaper to ride than were London’s omnibuses; they cost only a farthing (a fourth of a penny) to 4d. (four pence), depending on the distance one traveled.

            Two tunnels cut their way under the Thames during Victoria’s reign to further expand another form of rail travel in the metropolis. In 1843, a double tunnel, each one almost 14 feet in diameter, opened between Wapping and Rotherhithe in London’s East End, north and south of the Thames, respectively. It began as a footway, sporting stalls and shops in small alcoves on both sides. In 1868, however, it was converted into a railway tunnel. In 1869, work began on a second Thames tunnel, this one only seven foot in diameter, which crossed the river next to the Tower of London and at the site of the future Tower Bridge. It was completed in 1870, and for a few years, it housed a small-gauge railway capable of transporting 12 passengers at a time, for 1d. (a penny) each per crossing. Thereafter, the Tower tunnel became a footpath, where one could descend stairs to enter and cross for only ½d. (half a pence, or a ha’penny) – until it was reconfigured in 1894 to carry water mains with the opening of Tower Bridge, which made the tunnel crossing unnecessary.


            Thus ends our brief excursion into the railways of Victorian England and London. Now, as you read in the Holmes saga about the Great Detective or Watson — or any other character, for that matter — riding the rails or visiting one of the capitals’ railway depots, you should have a better idea of the history behind the story. (And if not, I suppose that we’ll have to deduce that your own “train-ing” in this matter hasn’t gone nearly as well as that of Sherlock Holmes.)


For Further Reading

            Following are a few of the books consulted for information in this article that can provide additional information to those interested in the topic:


Baedeker’s London and its Environs, 1900, by Karl Baedeker (Old House Books, 2002). Reprint of the excellent period guidebook to London, including transportation within the capital, at the end of the Victorian Era.


The Canonical Compendium, by Stephen Clarkson (and the late Bill Fleischauer), (Calabash Press, 1999). A good reference for running down all the references to trains and depots — as well as countless other items — in the Holmes Canon.


Dickens’s Dictionary of London, 1888: An Unconventional Handbook, by Charles Dickens (Old House Books, 1995). Reprint of the quirky but quite useful handbook of England’s capital by the son of the great author, full of period detail.


Encyclopedia Sherlockiana, by Jack Tracy (Doubleday & Co., 1977). This seminal Sherlockian work provides entries for all parts of London and elsewhere mentioned in the Canon, shedding a great deal of light on the Victorian background of the Holmes stories. Maps show the layout of London’s underground lines and locations of its major rail depots.


A History of London Transport, Volume 1: The Nineteenth Century, by T.C. Barker and Michael Robbins (George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1963). This comprehensive survey covers not only the development of rail travel in London during the Victorian Era, but all types of transport in the capital.


No Need to Ask: Early Maps of London’s Underground Railways, by David Leboff and Tim Demuth (Capital Transport Publishing, 1999). A plethora of maps and info about London’s underground system.


The Victorian Railway, by Jack Simmons (Thames & Hudson, 1991). A good historical overview of Victorian England’s railways, with period photos.


Acknowledgements: In addition to the preceding resources, thanks go to James Skipper, of the Victorian Gamer Web site (, for supplying some of the information contained in this article. Parts of this article also originally appeared, in slightly different form, in this author’s role-playing game sourcebook, Cthulhu By Gaslight, by Chaosium, Inc., and some of it may also appear in some form in the forthcoming GURPS Gaslight Victorian-era gaming sourcebook, from Steve Jackson Games.