'Opening of the first permanent railway in Japan', 1872.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Emperor Meiji (reigned 1868-1911) and a party of Japanese and British dignitaries arriving at Yokohama railway station to mark the opening of the first permanent railway in Japan. The railway opened on 12 October 1872 and ran 12 miles from Tokyo to the port of Yokohama, a journey which took 53 minutes. Japan had begun to modernise on a large scale and the building of this railway, the design and construction of which was British, was part of this trend. The drivers and key personnel were all British.