You are currently viewing archive for November 2011
Posted By Robert. Stephenson

This, taken from the Rocket 150 Official Handbook, is the Stipulations and Conditions for the 1829 Grand Competition of Locomotives on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, better known as the Rainhill Trials. The rules begin by mentioning “a premium of £500 for the most improved locomotive engine.” The first of the eight rules requires that the winning locomotive must “effectually consume its own smoke”: the Sans Pareil would fall foul of this condition. Number two decrees that a six-ton locomotive must be able to pull a 20-ton train of carriages, including tender and water tank, “day by day, on a well-constructed Railway, on an level plane”, at a speed of 10 miles per hour, with steam pressure in the boiler no greater than 50 pounds per square inch: this rule did for the Perseverance, which could do no better than six miles an hour, and the Novelty, which easily exceeded the minimum speed limit, but failed when it attempted to pull a train of the required weight. According to rule three, there must be two safety valves, one of them completely out of reach or control of the driver and neither fastened down while the locomotive is functioning. Fourthly, the engine and boiler must be supported on springs and rest on six wheels (however, no locomotive at the trials had more than four wheels) and the locomotive must be no taller than 15 feet from the ground to the top of the funnel. Under rule five, no locomotive may weigh more than six tons (including water in the boiler), with a lighter locomotive to be preferred to a heavier one that can pull a comparable weight (the Sans Pareil was 300 pounds over the limit but still allowed to participate), that a five-ton locomotive will not be asked to pull any more than 15 tons (with similar proportions for lighter engines). Rule six stipulates that there must be a mercurial gauge attached to the locomotive to show steam pressure over 45 pounds per square inch. Under rule seven, the competitors are to be delivered “at the Liverpool end of the Railway” by at the latest 1st October 1829. Lastly, rule eight states that the locomotive to be purchased by the Railway shall cost no more than £550, and the rejected locomotives will be taken back by their owners. A footnote specifies that the Railway Company will supply water and fuel to the tenders and that the gauge - the Stephenson gauge - is four feet eight and a half inches (however, the Novelty initially did not conform to this gauge, and had to be repaired by Timothy Hackworth, designer of the Sans Pareil, before it could compete in the Trials)

Rainhill Trials - Stipulations and Conditions

Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Photo of plaque



User Profile
Robert. Step...


You have 1310178 hits.