Wash drawing by John Cooke Bourne, from a collection of views of the building of the London & Birmingham Railway (LBR), showing the tunnel's portal under construction. In 1833, Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) was appointed chief engineer of the LBR, the first railway into London. Beginning at Curzon Street Station, Birmingham, and finishing at Euston Station, London, the 112 mile long line took 20,000 men nearly five years to build, at a cost of five and a half million pounds. It has been estimated that to build the railway, the navvies shifted more material than the ancient Egyptians did when they constructed the pyramids. The LBR opened on 17 September 1838.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library