'The Improved Street Railway Carriage' 1861.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph printed by Maclure, Macdonald and McGregor, showing a pair of the Street Railway Carriages patented by George Francis Train pasing the Marble Arch in London. Train, an American author and entrepreneur, introduced the first trams in Birkenhead in 1860 and London in 1861. The lines in London were laid in Bayswater, Victoria and Kennington, with the cars pulled by horses. Train's innovative mode of transport was not popular, partly because the design of rails used stood proud above the road surface if incorrectly laid, creating an obstacle to other types of road vehicle. The London lines were removed after only a few months. Trams did make a comeback, however, after the pasing of an Act of Parliament in 1870 permitting the laying of tramways in London.