The railway has played an incredibly important part in the lives of billions of people over the years. The first public railway which used only steam locomotives all the time, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, designed and built by George Stephenson, was opened in 1830 in the United Kingdom. Great Britain produced a lovely portrayal of the railway over a set of five stamps to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first journey on that line.
The first Italian railway was the Napoli – Portici line. Running for a grand total of 7.25 km, it was inaugurated on the 3rd of October 1839 by the Borbonic king Ferdinando II. At that time Napoli was the capital of the Regno delle Due Sicilie, and the Italian Peninsula was still divided into several different countries. Only twenty two years later, when Italy was finally unified in 1861, there were a total of 2,370 kilometres of railway throughout the country, the majority of which were in the north-western region of Piedmont. These stamps were issued in 1939 to celebrate 100 years of the railway in Italy.
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I have experienced the terrible winter fogs of 1950s London caused by the effects of widespread coal burning, vehicle emissions and other pollutants which killed thousands and hospitalised hundreds of thousands of people. This experience left me with life-long lung problems.
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