Tramways (not to be confused with a system of passenger carrying
Tramways can take many forms, sometimes just tracks temporarily laid on the ground to move materials around a factory, mine or quarry. Many, if not most, are
Motive power can be manual, animal (especially horses and mules), cable hauled by stationary engine, or utilize small locomotives.
The term was originally applied to wagons running on primitive tracks in early
The tracks themselves were sometimes known as gangways, dating from before the 12th century, being usually simply planks laid upon the ground  literally "going road". In south
The alternative term is "
Usually the wheels would be guided along grooves. In time, to combat wear, the timber would be reinforced with an iron strip covering. This developed to use
The origin of the word railway is uncertain, but
An alternative appeared, the so-called "edge-rail" where the wagons were guided by having the wheels flanged instead of running in grooves. Since these rails were raised above the ground they were less likely to be blocked by debris, but they obstructed other traffic. They were, however, the forerunners of the modern railway.
These early lines were built to transport minerals from quarries and mines to canal wharves. From about 1830, more extensive trunk railways appeared, becoming faster, heavier and more sophisticated and, for safety reasons, the requirements placed on them by Parliament became more and more stringent. See
These restrictions were excessive for the small mineral lines and it became possible in the
Meanwhile, in the