Horse-drawn carts with flanged wooden wheels running on wooden rails were used in the early 1600s in Nottingham and Shropshire to transport mined ores to waterways but it was only after technological improvements reduced the cost of iron (see Industrial Revolution) in the 1790s that the use of short railways to facilitate moving coal and ore started to become generalised in industrial sites. After 1774 James Watt’s partnership with Matthew Boulton enabled the manufacture of reliable and improved steam engines and began to offer the possibility of replacing horses with steam power, but it was not …
Clark, Robert. "Railway Mania". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 January 2004; last revised 23 October 2014.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=927, accessed 23 October 2014.]