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quantity which then appeared marvellous. The same evening a letter was dispatched to George Stephenson at Liverpool, informing him, to his great joy, that the “Rocket” was “all right,” and would be in complete working trim by the day of trial. The engine was shortly after sent by waggon to Carlisle, and thence shipped for Liverpool.
CHAP. XXIII. THE COMPETITION OF LOCOMOTIVES AT RAINHILL.
THE time, so much longed for by George Stephenson, had now arrived, when the merits of the passenger locomotive were about to be put to the test. He had fought the battle for it until now almost single-handed. Engrossed by his daily labours and anxieties, and harassed by difficulties and discouragements which would have crushed the spirit of a less resolute man, he had held firmly to his purpose through good and through evil report. The hostility which he experienced from some of the directors opposed to the adoption of the locomotive, was the circumstance that caused him the greatest grief of all; for where he had looked for encouragement, he found only carping and opposition. But his pluck never failed him; and now the “Rocket" was upon the ground,-to prove, to use his own words, “whether he was a man of his word or not.” Great interest was felt at Liverpool, as well as throughout the country, in the approaching competition. Engineers, scientific men, and mechanics, arrived from all quarters to witness the novel display of mechanical ingenuity on which such great results depended. The public generally were no idle spectators either. The populations of Liverpool, Manchester, and the adjacent towns felt that the successful issue of the experiment would confer upon them individual benefits and local advantages almost incalculable, whilst populations at a distance waited for the result with almost equal interest. On the day appointed for the great competition of locomotives at Rainhill, the following engines were entered for the prize: — 1. Messrs. Braithwaite and Ericsson’s “Novelty.” 2. Mr. Timothy Hackworth’s “Sans-pareil.” 3. Messrs. R. Stephenson and Co.'s “Rocket.” 4. Mr. Burstall's “Perseverance.” Another engine was entered by Mr. Brandreth of Liverpool — the “Cycloped,” weighing three tons, worked by a horse in a frame; but it could not be admitted to the competition. The above were the only four exhibited, out of a considerable number of engines which had been built in different parts of the country in anticipation of this contest, but which could not be satisfactorily completed by the day fixed for the competition. The ground on which the engines were to be tried was a level piece of railroad, about two miles in length. Each engine was to make twenty trips, or equal to a journey of seventy miles, in the course of the day; and the average rate of travelling was to be not under ten miles an hour. It was determined that, to avoid confusion, each engine should be tried separately, and on different days. The day fixed for the competition was the first of October, but to allow the engines sufficient time to get into good working order, the directors extended it to the 6th. The judges were Mr. Nicholas Wood, Mr. Rastrick, and Mr. Kennedy. On the morning of the 6th, the ground at Rainhill presented a lively appearance, and there was as much excitement as if the St. Ledger were about to be run. Many thousand spectators looked on, amongst whom were some of the first engineers of the day. A stand was provided for the ladies; and the “beauty and fashion” of the neighbourhood were present, whilst the side of the road was lined with carriages of all descriptions. It wasquite characteristic of Mr. Stephenson, that, although
cHAP. xxiii.] THE COMPETITION AT RAINHILL. 297
his engine did not stand first on the list for trial, it was the first that was ready ; and it was accordingly ordered out by the judges for an experimental trip. The distance which it ran on that day was about twelve miles, performed in about fifty-three minutes. The “Novelty” was next called out. It was a light engine, very compact in appearance, carrying the water and fuel upon the same wheels as the engine. The weight of the whole was only three tons and one hundredweight. A peculiarity of this engine was that the air was driven or forced through the fire by means of bellows, an adoption of Trevethick's idea. The day being now far advanced, and some dispute having arisen as to the method of assigning the proper load for the “Novelty,” no particular experiment was made, further than that the engine traversed the line by way of exhibition, occasionally moving at the rate of twenty-four miles an hour. The “Sans-pareil,” constructed by Mr. Timothy Hackworth, was next exhibited; but no particular experiment was made with it on this day. This engine differed but little in its construction from the locomotive last supplied by Mr. Stephenson to the Stockton and Darlington Railway, of which Mr. Hackworth was the locomotive foreman. It had the double tube containing the fire, passing along the inside of the boiler, and returning back to the same end at which it entered. It had also the steam blast in the chimney; but as the contraction of the orifice by which the steam was thrown into the chimney for the purpose of intensifying the draught, was a favourite idea of Mr. Hackworth, he had sharpened the blast of his engine in a remarkable degree. This was the only novel feature in the “Sans-pareil.” The contest was postponed until the following day; but before the judges arrived on the ground, the bellows for creating the blast in the “Novelty” gave way, and it was found incapable of going through its performance. A defect was also detected in the boiler of the “Sans-pareil; ” and Mr. Hackworth was allowed some further time to get it repaired. The large number of spectators who had assembled to witness the contest were greatly disappointed at this postponement; but, to lessen it, Mr. Stephenson again brought out the “Rocket,” and, attaching to it a coach containing thirty persons, he ran them along the line at the rate of from twentyfour to thirty miles an hour, much to their gratification and amazement. Before separating, the judges ordered the “Rocket” to be in readiness by eight o'clock on the following morning, to go through its definitive trial according to the prescribed conditions. On the morning of the 8th of October, the “Rocket” was again ready for the contest. The engine was taken to the extremity of the stage, the fire-box was filled with coke, the fire lighted, and the steam raised until it lifted the safetyvalve loaded to a pressure of fifty pounds to the square inch. This proceeding occupied fifty-seven minutes. The engine then started on its journey, dragging after it about thirteen tons weight in waggons, and made the first ten trips backwards and forwards along the two miles of road, running the thirty-five miles, including stoppages, in an hour and fortyeight minutes. The second ten trips were in like manner performed in two hours and three minutes. The maximum velocity attained by the “Rocket” during the trial trip was twenty-nine miles an hour, or about three times the speed that one of the judges of the competition had declared to be the limit of possibility. The average speed at which the whole of the journeys were performed was fifteen miles an hour, or five miles beyond the rate specified in the conditions published by the Company. The entire performance excited the greatest astonishment amongst the assembled spectators; the directors felt confident that their enterprise