The United Kingdom consists of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and previously consisted of Great Britain and the whole of Ireland. Rail transport systems developed independently on the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland, and most of the railway construction in the Republic of Ireland was undertaken before independence in 1922. Thus, the logical division to discuss the history and present-day state of railways in these areas is by geographical division, rather than the political division of nation states. Northern Ireland is an administrative region and one of four constituent parts of the United Kingdom. ... The Union Flag, in its modern form, was first adopted in 1801. ... Diesel and electric trains and locomotives replaced steam in many countries in the decades after World War II. Many countries since the 1960s have adopted High-speed railways. ... 1922 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...
Rail transport in Great Britain discusses rail transport on the larger of the British isles, comprising England, Scotland and Wales. Here, the vast majority of the railway system standardised on the standard gauge of 4 ft 8½ ins (1435 mm).
Similarly, for the history of rail transport, rather than the current situation (described in the above articles), see History of rail transport in Great Britain and History of rail transport in Ireland. Class 180 Multiple Unit of First Great Western at speed near Yate, Bristol, England. ... As railways developed and expanded one of the key issues to be decided was that of the rail gauge (the distance between the two rails of the track) which should be used. ... Rail services in Ireland are provided by Iarnród Éireann in the Republic of Ireland, and by Northern Ireland Railways in Northern Ireland. ... Northern Ireland is an administrative region and one of four constituent parts of the United Kingdom. ... The British railway system is the oldest in the world. ... The history of rail transport in Ireland began only a decade later than that of Great Britain. ...
Railtransport is one of the most energy efficient means of mechanised land transport known.
Railtransport is also one of the safest modes of transport, and also makes a highly efficient use of space: a double tracked rail line can carry more passengers or freight in a given amount of time than a four-laned road.
In the late 18th century iron rails began to appear: British civil engineer William Jessop designed edge rails to be used with flanged wheels for use on a scheme in Loughborough, Leicestershire (in 1789 and subsequently opened an iron-works to produce more rails).
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