Some notable dates from our history.
One of the first references of the railways in the UK: Lord
Guilford visits Newcastle and notices how colliers use "rails of
timber" to assist horse-drawn wagons from the pit to a nearby
The first Railway Act is passed (to authorise a railway to
Middleton Colliery near Leeds).
2 July 1798
The Marine Police, the UK’s first organised police force, begin
patrolling the River Thames. It is absorbed into the Metropolitan
Police in 1839.
The Surrey Iron Railway opens between
Wandsworth and Croydon. This is the first public railway sanctioned
by Parliament; horses pull its goods wagons.
The Oystermouth Railway, the first passenger railway, is opened in
Swansea Bay. Its carriages are horse drawn.
In possibly the first railway related crime, William James, an
engineer employed by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway is
assaulted while surveying the line.
27 September 1825
The Stockton and
Darlington Railway, the first steam-hauled railway, is formally
30 June 1826
The first mention of railway police anywhere is made in a
regulation of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, three years
before the Metropolitan Police Act is passed.
15 September 1830
The Liverpool to Manchester Railway is opened by the Duke of
Wellington. The event was marred by the death of the Rt. Hon
William Huskisson, the local MP, who fell under an engine. He was
the first person to be killed by a train.
22 November 1830
Minutes of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway refer to their
31 May 1835
The Great Western Railway Police is formed. The officer in charge,
a superintendent based at Paddington, has 707 men under his
8 February 1836
A section of the London to Greenwich Railway is opened between
Deptford and Bermondsey. This is the first railway in London.
21 March 1838
The first section of the London to Southampton Railway is opened. A
later account states: "Policemen were more numerous than any other
class of (railway) servant; they acted as signalmen and ticket
collectors and were stationed at regular intervals along the line.
Their uniforms consisted of a swallow-tail coat, dark trousers and
a tall hat with a leather crown."
The Regulation of Railways Act is passed. It includes the offences
of railway staff being drunk on duty, impeding or obstructing
engines and endangering the safety of persons on the railway.
James Thompson is convicted of "holding Miss Emily Stacey in an
improper manner" while on the London and Greenwich Line. This is
one of the first records of a sex offence on the railway.
1 January 1845
Sgt William Williams of GWR Police becomes the first person to make
an arrest using technology. Alerted by a telegraph message sent
from Slough, he arrested John Tawell after he stepped off a train
at Paddington. Tawell had murdered a girl at Slough.