Maps of Railroads and Canals in Waterland

Joel Henderson '93 (English 32 1990)

Comparing the maps of canals and railroads shows that despite the huge networks of railroads, in the area around the Ouse the rail merely follows the path of the river -- which is fairly direct. The directness of the Ouse water route would mean that, for the early years of rail, the river navigation industry would be able to compete with the trains; this would not be the case in, for example, the London-Littlehampton journey. The canal map shows that, as the novel describes, a large amount of transportation was in fact carried out over canals and rivers; this supports the idea of water-people, who live with the rivers, locks, and dredgers, pursuing the endless land reclamation task. From the railway map one sees that this canal society, although it could continue to exist in certain areas (like that of the Ouse), for the most part will transform itself into the corrosponding rail society as the train routes network across England.

United Kingdom