Successive developments in transport have shaped the lives of Shropshire people. Transport by road was often difficult and slow, especially during winter months. Trade and the movement of goods were most effectively carried out by waterways and the River Severn was Shropshire’s principal trade route right into the nineteenth century. During the late 1700s, a network of canals began to be constructed. These impressive feats of engineering enabled industrial areas to be linked to major cities and ports. In the Victorian period, railways became the dominant means of transport for goods, and increasingly for recreation.