The Great Western Railway, which linked London and Bristol in 1841, opened a branch from Swindon to Gloucester via Stroud in 1845. The poster gives details of the timetable and charges.
There were two goods trains per day in each direction. At around eight hours from Stroud to Paddington, the railway not only offered a much quicker service than the canal (where the journey would be measured in a similar number of days), but also a much more reliable one. There was a complicated scale of charges according to the distance and nature of the goods carried. Bulk goods like coal were cheapest when carried by the whole truck-load. Rates of up to 11/2d (less than 1p) per ton/mile were distinctly competitive.
Finally, passengers could also be carried. Although, with a single fare being almost as much as a labouring man earned in a week, it was not cheap! Like modern airline travellers, each passenger had a baggage allowance and would be charged for any excess.