This article uses geographic information systems (GIS) to explore the growth of the rail network in England and Wales in the period before World War I. It uses two major GIS databases, one containing data on the growth of the rail network, including both lines and stations, and one containing parish-level populations. The parish-level data are particularly important for two reasons: they give an unparalleled level of spatial detail, and they are interpolated onto a single set of boundaries over time, which allows direct long-term comparisons. GIS's ability to integrate data allows the article to shed new light on how quickly the railways spread into the country's population. It then explores whether gaining a station made it more likely for a parish's population growth to increase and whether gaining one early was an advantage compared to gaining one relatively late. The article explores this impact at a variety of urban levels.