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The railways allowed Brits to live further away from their places of work. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the railways encouraged the development of suburbia inhabited by a new type of resident and worker - the commuter.In some cases new places emerged on the map, simply because of the railways - places like Surbiton and Kingston-upon-Thames. Liz visits nation's largest commuter zone, London and the south east of England. The Victorian rail network was never part of one single grand plan, but it emerged and evolved, line by line, over decades. For today's commuters, work is still going on to build a network that keeps up with their needs.Historian Liz McIvor explores how Britain's expanding rail network was the spark to a social revolution, starting in the 1800s and through to modern times. A fast system of transportation shaped many areas of our industrial nation - from what we eat to where we live, work and play. The railways generated economic activity but they also changed the nature of business itself. They even changed attitudes to time and how we set our clocks! Our railways reflected deep class divisions, but they also brought people together and helped forge a new sense of national identity.

Episode Title: The New Commuters
Airs: 2016-10-20 at 20:00