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Who made the most important contribution to railway development, Robert Stephenson or I.K. Brunel?

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Who made the most important contribution to railway development, Robert Stephenson or I.K. Brunel? Adam Penman. The following text researches and compares the abilities and contributions to the progress of railway, of each 18th century British civil engineers; eventually the most important contribution will be analyzed and concluded. Robert Stephenson-a brief biography Robert Stephenson lived from 1803 until 1859. This British civil engineer was notoriously known for the construction of several notable bridges. The son of George Stephenson, he was born in Willington Quay, near Newcastle upon Tyne, and educated in Newcastle and at the University of Edinburgh. In 1829 he assisted his father in constructing a locomotive known as the Rocket as well as helping his father with the Stockton and Darlington Railway, and four years later he was appointed construction engineer of the Birmingham and London Railway, completed and opened in 1838. During Stephenson's career he became manager of the family locomotive works on Tyneside. Stephenson built several famous bridges, including all the following: the Victoria Bridge in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland; the Britannia Bridge, a tubular-girder structure over the Menai Strait in Bangor, Wales; two ...read more.


Although it used more land, track laid at this broad gauge and the trains designed to run on it gave a faster, smoother, and more fuel-efficient ride. By 1838 the line was open from London to Maidenhead, where the railway crossed the Thames over the longest and flattest brick arches ever built-a record that still stands. A great station was built at each end of the line (Paddington in London and Temple Meads in Bristol), which set the style of high-vaulted glass canopies that would become the standard for 19th-century railway architecture. Perhaps the most difficult single construction of the line was the tunnel at Box in Somerset. About 3 km (nearly 2 mi) long, it was by far the longest tunnel of any kind to have been built to that time. By June 1841 the whole line was open, and Brunel began to plan numerous branches to towns and cities near its route, such as Oxford and Cheltenham, as well as an extension to Exeter which would span the River Tamar at Saltash. Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge (1854-1857) at Saltash, a suspension design of two spans. ...read more.


Source: Encarta 99, The world Book Encyclopedia Conclusion Although both Stephenson and Brunel contributed famous, influential and essential developments of the 19th century and was most probably were influenced by their successful fathers, I believe that Brunel was a more passionate and influential 'artist' of the engineering world. He designed huge, outrageous and adventurous projects that had never been thought possible. This is confirmed by Stephenson and all his predecessors using the 4 ft 8 1/2 inches gauge but Brunel typically went one step further and created the most efficient gauge, which was 7-ft 1/2 inches. Brunel was far more passionate about his work, that it is reported that, once on his death bed Brunel pushed the limits of his health and demanded to be taken across his final masterpiece; the Royal Albert Bridge connecting Devon with Cornwall, on his old and exhausted back. Whereas Stephenson, during 1847 until 1859 became interested in politics and served in the House of Commons. Brunel also pushed the limit of speed, comfort and engineering brilliance of his era. Brunel (and Stephenson) will always be remembered for their skill knowledge, and for Brunel, his adventurous daring. * To be handed in on 15/6/00 ...read more.

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