Punch,  9 (1845), 211–12.

Opening of the Railway Parliament



Essay, Drollery

Relevant illustrations:

wdct. [4]


Railways, Transport, Politics, Government, Accidents

    Begins by describing the ubiquity of railway projects in London, including railways 'being carried along the streets of London supported on iron posts of the gas lamps'. Suggests that this warrants the establishment of a 'Railway Parliament', which will devote itself 'exclusively to Railway business'. Drawing an implicit analogy between political constituencies and lines, the author explains how each line would have two representatives in this parliament, and that representatives of the upper house would have such titles as 'the Marquis of the Central Terminus' and 'Baron Broad Gauge'. (212) Proceeds to complain about the disruption caused to London cab traffic by engineers calculating routes of proposed railway lines, and to the plethora of apparently useless lines in and around London. Explains that the new parliament would open with a procession, illustrated by a series of three 'frescoes by Punch's artist'. The illustrations show Mr Punch and his dog Toby leading a procession of railway statesmen, some of whom ride steam locomotives, which sport horses' heads and rear up like horses.

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