From the very outset, railways have been a global phenomenon. When the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world’s first intercity rail service, premiered in 1830, construction had already started across the Atlantic on the United States’ first railway, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. As detailed by railway historian Christian Wolmar in Blood, Iron and Gold, within a decade of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway’s successful debut, railways were spreading across Europe to nations such as France, Belgium and Italy. By the 1840s the new technology was being introduced in Asia and South America, and was well on its way to revolutionising transport around the globe. This rapid expansion is not surprising. While for centuries (and indeed millennia), waterways provided the only avenues for low-cost, high-volume transport, the advent of the iron road opened up new opportunities for transporting people and goods across virtually any terrain.