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Topic: Railscapes
Railways have had a dramatic impact on the environment, transforming both the natural and urban landscape. They destroyed homes and historic sites and ripped through the countryside, bringing pollution to previously unspoilt areas and serving industries that caused environmental damage to town and country alike. Although many people enthusiastically embraced the progress of the railways, their assault on the environment also provoked fierce opposition. Eventually they earned acceptance and even came to be regarded as part of the scenery. In fact, by the end of the twentieth century increasing pollution from roads meant that railways were almost universally seen as the green transport alternative. This topic looks at the sometimes-troubled relationship between railways and the environment, and how a great polluter turned green.
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Topic section 1: War with rude nature
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The railways opened up the country. Creating greater access than ever before, people marvelled at the new environments beyond their homes. But with access came a dramatic change of scenery, as the railways ploughed through unspoilt land  > more

Topic section 2: Cathedrals of steam
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The impact of railways on the urban environment was mixed. They brought trade, industry and new buildings to towns and cities, but with them came slums, squalor, and pollution  > more

Topic section 3: Greenscapes?
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How green are the railways? Popular perception is that trains are the environmentally friendly form of transport, and that they enhance the landscape. However, as we travel more, railway technology continues to impact on the environment  > more
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