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TRAIN, George Francis

Street railways. A lecture delivered before the members of the Greenwich Literary Institition, December 18th, 1860. [With] Report of the banquet, given by George Francis Train, Esq., to inaugurate the opening of the first street railway in Europe, at Birkenhead, August 30, 1860; with opinions of the press on the subject of street railways. [With] Report of the banquet given by George Francis Train, Esq. (of Boston, U.S.A.), at St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly, to inaugurate the opening of the first street railway in London, the Marble Arch line, March 23rd, 1861, with opinions of the press and extracts on the subject of street railways.
London and Liverpool, 1860, 1860, 1861

G F Train, an American, introduced the horse-drawn street tram into Europe, opening the first stretch of line in August 1860 in Birkenhead. This was followed in March 1861 by the first tram line in London, which ran down the south side of Bayswater Road from Marble Arch to Porchester Terrace, and by two further short stretches of line.
Invitation to the 'First Street Railway Lunch in the Metropolis of the World', 1861 - one of the fine printed wrappers
One of the fine printed wrappers bound in

The present item contains three exceptionally rare pamphlets relating to these events. The first is a lecture delivered to the Greenwich Literary Institution promoting the whole notion of street railways, while the second commemorates the banquet held at the opening of the Birkenhead line. The third item marks the opening of the Marble Arch line.

Although Train incorporated his Street Rail Co. in 1861 and tramways were promoted and, in some cases, built in Dublin, Liverpool, Glasgow and Darlington, he was slightly too far ahead of his time and made some crucial mistakes, notably in his design of rail, which consisted of a flat plate with a step at one side. If badly laid, the step would protrude above the Mcadamized road surface, thus presenting an unacceptable obstacle to other vehicles.

The London lines were taken up only a few months after they were laid but Train nevertheless paved the way for the later acceptance of tramways in Britain, though he himself played no further part. The first act permitting tramways in London was passed in 1870.

Of the pamphlets here, only that relating to Birkenhead is present in the British Library Catalogue. There is no record of the other two. Their owner was Horatio Noble Pym, who may have been a relative of the financial agent, John Noble, whose firm was acting on behalf of the Metropolitan Tramways Co, which was even less successful than Train in attempting to build tramways in London.


8vo. 3 works in 1. 21 + (1)pp ; 117 + (2)pp, double-page plate ; 110pp. Near contemporary quarter calf, rejointed. The original printed front wrapper of all 3 items bound in, each with a printed presentation inscription, "With Mr.Train's Compliments" beneath ownership inscription of Horatio Pym.



Catalogue No: 5258