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such experts as Thomas Telford and John Macadam In the eighteenth century road construction had been undertaken under the supervision of such experts as Thomas Telford and John Macadam, but these roads - and the toll-financed Turnpike Roads provided by local counties and private landowners - did not really serve commercial purposes. For the transport of heavy and bulky cargoes the most economical means of transport was by water, on ship or barge. Thus the early expansion of heavy industry was assisted by the building of canals - the Monkland Canal, linking the Lanarkshire coal and ironfields with the wharves at Port Dundas in Glasgow; the Forth and Clyde Canal, crossing Scotland from Grangemouth to Bowling, and the Union Canal which connected industry in and around Edinburgh with the Forth and Clyde Canal at Bainsford, in Falkirk.
These canals were effective, but goods moved very slowly. A faster method of distribution was found by adapting the technique, long-used in collieries, of having loaded wagons run on fixed rails from the point of production to the point of marketing. A railway of this sort had run from the Ayrshire coal-fields to Troon, where coal was shipped for Ireland, and similar wagon-ways existed in the Lothians. Along such lines horses could draw heavy loads, or stationary steam engines could, by rope or chain, draw wagons from point to point. With growing ingenuity in steam engineering came the production of locomotive engines, which themselves could run on the track provided, drawing trains of wagons behind them.
The pioneering work in steam engineering of James Watt(James Watt was born in Greenock in 1736, the son of a ship's chandler (trader in canvas, etc). Watt had little formal education due to poor health in his youth, but pottering about in his father's shop he developed an interest in trying to make things "work like clockwork". ) was thus applied by George Stephenson; and in a remarkably short time railways were in operation, or under construction, throughout Britain. In Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow were linked by rail by 1842, and spur lines ran from the cities to the smaller towns in their areas. Railway connections with the south were established with the foundation in 1845 of the Caledonian Railway which linked Glasgow with the North Western Railway at Carlisle, and thence to London. In 1846 a similar plan linked the North British Railway, based in Edinburgh, with the English rail-head at Newcastle; while in 1850 a third link was provided when the Midland Railway, of Derby, connected with the Glasgow and South Western Railway at Dumfries.
Industrial costs were dramatically lowered and profits accordingly soared. Production of coal and iron (and steel) was in greatly increased demand and new jobs at all levels were provided - labourers to lay the tracks and civil engineers to plan them; mechanical engineers to design locomotives; labourers to smelt the iron-ore; platers and riveters to build them; drivers and firemen to crew the engines, and signalmen and surfacemen to see to the safe scheduled running of the trains.
The social consequences were also spectacular. The railway network integrated the country as never before, as travel was now possible for people with little leisure and no private transport. For the fortunate, railways made it possible to live at a distance from the place of employment, and suburbs arose around the cities, providing more work for architects, masons, builders, carpenters and slaters, plumbers and painters.
The outcome was a second, and vaster, Industrial Revolution. Soon the expansion of the railways was paralleled by the provision of steamships, and the firths of Clyde, Forth and Tay became highways of trade. Forth and Tay had long experience of this kind of thing, but for the Clyde it was something new.
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