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  • If you're watching this on your daily commute,

  • you'd be forgiven for feeling less than enthusiastic about trains.

  • But as hard as it is to imagine, before the advent of commuter rail

  • people faced a lot more peril than indefinite delays, expensive fares

  • and getting to know the intimate notes of strangers' body odours.

  • The world's first purpose-built passenger railway opened in 1830

  • and ran between Liverpool and Manchester.

  • Prior to that, if you wanted to travel between the two

  • you would either have to spend 12 hours meandering along the canals,

  • which wasn't so bad if you were willing to shut your eyes

  • and pretend you were in Venice,

  • or you could risk a three hour bone-jolting stagecoach ride

  • down narrow, winding roads

  • and keeping everything crossed that you wouldn't crash!

  • The new trains reached speeds of up to 35mph.

  • While some thrill seeking passengers treated the experience

  • like a day at Alton Towers,

  • others were terrified by the speed.

  • An early passenger, Charles Young, said:

  • Nobody tell Charles about the Shanghai maglev,

  • which with speeds of up to 267.8mph,

  • is the fastest train in the world.

  • It's hard to imagine how impressive this new invention was

  • to early adopters.

  • Actress Fanny Kemble described the romanticism of it:

  • You might find it comforting that one thing that hasn't changed

  • is that the railway company underestimated the demand

  • for their magical machine.

  • Having budgeted for a daily quota of 250 passengers,

  • the railway regularly found itself carrying

  • more than four times that many.

  • One thing us modern commuters should perhaps be grateful for,

  • although first class passengers on the early trains

  • had covered carriages, everyone else was exposed to the elements.

  • At least now we all get a roof!

  • We can also count ourselves lucky to have official stops and platforms.

  • At first, stops were by request but that quickly became inconvenient.

  • You can probably guess why.

  • And with no raised platforms,

  • passengers boarded the train at track level.

  • Definitely not a risk you'd take today.

  • While the rail network wasn't and still isn't perfect,

  • it's easy to forget just how revolutionary it actually was.

  • The easy journey between Manchester and Liverpool

  • meant people could more effectively meet and do business,

  • had new opportunities for leisure and maybe even to find love.

  • Knowledge and ideas could also be communicated

  • more quickly than ever before,

  • with the transportation of newspapers and mail.

  • As the rail network grew, more accurate time-keeping was needed

  • to keep travellers on track.

  • Clocks around the country were synchronised and standardised,

  • and railway time ruled.

  • This ensured that six o'clock in Oxford

  • was the same as in Crewe and Barrow.

  • So whether you love or hate rail travel,

  • there's no denying that life in the UK today

  • would be unimaginable without it.

  • And the next time you've got your nose in someone's armpit,

  • think back to a time when commuter rail was an exciting,

  • magical and even terrifying new technology.

  • You might just see it in a whole new light.

  • Thanks for watching. Don't forget to subscribe! :)

If you're watching this on your daily commute,


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B1 中級

鉄道通勤が日常生活をどう変えたか|BBC Ideas (How commuting by rail changed our daily lives | BBC Ideas)

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    Summer に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日