An Englishman known as William Jessup designed the first "flanged wheel" rails. This is the same design of iron rails that are used with modern railroad systems.
Wagonways were the first railroads, and they were used in Germany as early as the year 1550. They were made of wood, but by 1776, they were replaced by iron. Wagonways were the start of modern railroads, but William Jessup's design of the flanged wheel rail was more useful. Its design allowed the wheels to grip the rail better by using the flange, which is a groove. This was an important design, being much more dependable.