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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 4 (July 1, 1939)

The First Railway Timetable

The First Railway Timetable.

Exactly one hundred years ago, there was published the first railway time-table. This, curiously enough, was not issued by any railway undertaking, but was the product of a private individual—George Bradshaw, a printer and engraver, of Manchester. “Bradshaw” today is a household word throughout Europe, but the first issue of “Bradshaw's Railway Time-tables,” in 1839, was a small book, bound in cloth, priced at sixpence, and containing just 38 pages. In 1840 came the second edition, a trifle larger, and with a new title—“Bradshaw's Railway Companion.” Then followed, twelve months later, “Bradshaw's Monthly Railway Guide,” in its world-famous yellow wrapper. The year 1847 saw the first publication of “Bradshaw's Continental Railway Guide,” and to-day “Bradshaw” and the “Continental Bradshaw” are probably the best-known of all railway time-tables. This centenary is of added interest by reason of the fact that, from the issue of its time-table dated 1st May to 2nd July, the London and North Eastern Railway has abandoned its own 7 ½ in. by 11 ½ in. time-table in favour of a reprint from “Bradshaw's Railway Guide” (now published by Henry Blacklock & Co. Ltd.). Besides effecting economy in printing costs, the new form is handy for the pocket, measuring 4 ¾ in. by 6 ½ in. What a rare tribute to the genius of George Bradshaw is this latest move of our second largest group railway!