The Lickey Bank, science and engineering


David Davis

I have not previously appended my by-line to posts about trains. You might have begun to think that I was a “train spotter” and that would never do. (Google it.)

The point about trains, generally, is that they are among the first machines that could get about relatively freely that could also show the mastery of chaos, pre-capitalist barbarism, hunger, pandemic disease, penury and mass death, by the Human Mind left free To Think.

The Tragedy Of  The Trains was that States, such as “Prussia” (very bad in  _nearly all_  statist ways but not in others to do with individual obligation) and “France” (almost as bad in  _some other_  ways, such as intellectuo-civilisational-hubris, but great food and wine and weather) got hold of the idea: States thought that Trains could be used for war (right) and for transporting people in “systems” of “public transport” (wrong.) The point of trains was to cut the price of coal, iron ore, stone, brick, cement, timber, fresh meat, fish and milk and perishables by about a half or more than that, and amplify the speed of delivery by about four or five. Big States, such as “Prussia”, which invented Modern War the NHS and State Pensions and UB40s, corrupted trains.

For those who are not totally acquainted with the more fine achievements of steam railway power, the Lickey Incline, at about 1 in 37.7  for just over two miles, functions more or less like the vertical side of a house for proper trains. Brunel was against it. He got fired. Someone else was brought in to do a line, under private-finance-partnership-type-quango rules of incentive. Yes, a modern turbodiesel-electric will go up it as if it was flat, but it’s more boring and uses less “resources”. So here you go…here’s some trains, showing graphically what hand-fired steam traction is all about:-

0 thoughts on “The Lickey Bank, science and engineering

  1. I was thinking about this earlier. I think you’re spot-on when you say trains were really an industrial economic advancement, and not a public transport one. I mean, I could always drive a car or ride a motorcyle to a more specific destination that a train driver could.

    The thing is, with an ever-decreasing heavy industries base and ever-aging rail infrastructure, do we bother with a massive overhaul? I had ideas about Japanese Bullet style trains travelling on advanced railing mechanisms, performing London to Manchester in less that half an hour, but if you’re right David, then what’s the point?

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