How has project management changed since 1826

February 1, 2023
How has project management changed since 1826

Recently, we’ve been posting newsworthy and historical updates about the rail industry, on our active social media channels, generating lots of comments and engagement.

What is interesting is that many of the original artefacts of the rail industry only exist in replica form.

Did you know for example that Stephenson’s “Rocket” at the National Railway Museum in York is a modern replica. The Flying Scotsman has no original parts either. Perhaps this doesn’t surprise you?

Yet, something admittedly more permanent and durable like the London Underground or Ribblehead Viaduct remain relatively unchanged.

The rail industry was born in the UK in the cradle of the Industrial Revolution and, apart from the rolling stock, much of the network is still original.

What has changed though is how humans interact with railways.

They now largely form a network for passengers and lots of passengers like in Saudi Arabia. Here pilgrims are being transported between holy cities. Trains are still used for freight globally, but passengers are now largely what rails carry.

These passengers, this human freight, is now technologically savvy. Most humans, in most countries, are armed with 4G or 5G smartphones. Trains have wifi networks as do subterranean channels like the London Underground. No one had smartphones though before 2004 we guess.

There’s another analogy we’d like to share too.


Canaries were used from 1911 to 1986, believe it or not, in coal mines to sense carbon monoxide. The canary would keel over in the presence of this toxin and the miners would know to leave. They were the equivalent of carbon monoxide detectors in avian form.

When the Ribblehead viaduct was built by 2000 workers over many years, project management would have looked very different to how it would look now.

No doubt there would be ledgers, paperwork and architect drawings, but a camera? A recording device? An electronic notepad?


People sometimes nostalgically yearn for the past - but do you think steam trains are a good use of fossil fuels? Do you think pen and paper beats a smartphone and tablet? Do pencil drawings beat CAD?

At Raildiary

A leading SaaS provider for the rail construction industry, we think not.

It’s why we developed our app to simply and streamline rail construction projects.

It was designed by rail construction experts who know the rail industry inside out. The app has been successfully used on some of the UK’s largest rail projects.

The technological advancements, embodied in the app, enables easy data collection and provides immediate insights for problem solving.  Real time updates mean claims and contract changes are instantaneous. What’s more, the Raildiary app integrates fully with your existing systems.

Some more landmarks:

•   The first train, the Rocket, was invented in 1829.

•   The first ballpoint pen was created in 1888.

•   Canaries were phased out in mines in 1986.

•   The first smartphone with camera was launched in 1999.

•   Apps were launched in 2008.

•   Raildiary began in 2019.

Overall, the changes in project management since 1826 have enabled companies to manage projects more efficiently and effectively. From traditional methods like pen and paper to cloud-based tools and agile methodologies, the evolution of project management has allowed teams to work smarter, not harder.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that project management is a constantly evolving field, and it will continue to change as technology and project requirements evolve. Therefore, it is essential for project managers to stay updated with the latest trends and tools to ensure their success in managing projects.

Oliver Donohue

Snr Account Manager

Snr Account Manager

Raildiary LinkedIn
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