Q. 74.3( 3 Votes )

What were the relative advantages of canal and railway transportation?

Answer :

During the Industrial Revolution in England, modernisation of transport systems was needed to support the growing industries in Britain. Britain already had a well laid out network of canals and roads, but it needed upgradation to support the burgeoning demand of the growing industries. Although canals had existed for a long time, the railways were a new mode of transportation at that point in time. Both these modes had several advantages.

a) Canals and railways allowed bulk materials to be economically transported over long distances inland. For e.g., coal could be economically transported from the coal fields via the canals and railways to the industries and cities.

b) Areas with better-developed canals and railways developed faster. Often intersection points of canals and railroads served as markets which later grew to be well-established towns and cities.

Canals being the older form of transportation had always been in existence in Britain. Under the Industrial Revolution, they were further developed to accommodate the higher demands. Approximately 4000 miles of canal network was constructed in Britain by the 1850s. With the introduction of railways, it was observed that they were more advantageous than canals. Not only were they able to carry bulkier goods at lower prices, but they could also operate all year round. Thus, railways were considered to be more efficient modes of transport though both canals and railways contributed highly during the industrial revolution.

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