Railway stations: monuments to industrial heyday

If cathedrals were built as monuments to the glory of God, then it could be argued that railway stations were intended to glorify the Industrial Revolution. 

Massive, elaborately decorated, built to impress, many of them are almost works of art in their own right.

The first passenger train in France began operating in July 1830, between Givors (Rhône) and Rive-de-Gier (Loire). But it was hardly a luxurious experience; passengers sat in horse-drawn coal wagons. In August 1837, however, the first specially-built passenger line was inaugurated from Paris to Le Pecq, near Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It served 18,000 passengers on its first day.

By 1841 it was possible to travel from Strasbourg to Basel by train and it was clear that railways would advance the Industrial Revolution ...

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