Only last night I had a discussion with my boyfriend about the train system in Britain. We're nearly finished reading The Return of Sherlock Holmes (which I read aloud to him as he paints historic miniatures for wargaming). I've noticed, as the stories progressed, the extensive reliance Holmes and Watson have on the Victorian train system in order to get to cases outside of London. They can usually be at the scene of a crime in Sussex, for example, within two or three hours from receiving a telegram about said crime.
I certainly don't envy the men who had to build the 22,000 miles of rail that made up the Victorian transportation system.