Wagonway

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Wagonways (or Waggonways) consisted of the horses, equipment and tracks used for hauling wagons, which preceded steam powered railways. The terms "plateway", "tramway" and in someplaces, "dramway" are also found.

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Early developments

The idea of using "tracked" roads is at least 2000 years old; quarries in Ancient Greece, Malta and the Roman Empire used cut stone tracks to haul loads pulled by animals, as the Greek Diolkos did for transporting ships overland. Around 1568, German miners working in the Mines Royal near Keswick had knowledge of tub railways, as archaeological work at the Mines Royal site at Caldbeck in the English Lake District has now confirmed the use of "hunds", as track fragments have been found.[1][2] The wooden tubs, known as "hunds" ("dog" in German) ran on two wide boards or rails and were used to move ore within the mines. These hunds used a guide pin system, utilising the slot between the two board rails, to keep them on course.

The first true railways, using a flange to keep the wheel on a rail, were developed in the early 17th century. In 1604, Huntingdon Beaumont completed the Wollaton Wagonway, built to transport coal from the mines at Strelley to Wollaton, just west of Nottingham, England. Wagonways have been proven to exist in Broseley and in Shropshire from 1605, but it has recently been suggested that used by James Clifford to transport coal from his mines in Broseley to the river Severn was somewhat older than that at Wollaton.[2][3]

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