Travel guides were not new, but the speed and relative cheapness of railway travel quickly opened up a new demand. George Bradshaw, the Manchester cartographer, had a similar idea at this time and his guides and timetables became more famous.
Drake's technique is to describe the scenery and the outlying villages as he journeys from London to Birmingham and throw in a few interesting facts. It is still a rural world he sees. Newport Pagnell, with a population of 3,385, is by far the largest town in North Bucks.
He makes assumptions about his readership that could not be made today. There are several allusions in the text that assume a classical education and a knowledge about history, literature and religion. I have provided footnotes to explain where I can.
Here follows the Wolverton section, describing in 1839 an entirely new phenomenon.