Scope and Content

Collection of 20 private bills and acts relating to railways, including theLiverpool to Manchester Railway, and railways in Newcastle, County Durham andLondon.

Administrative / Biographical History

The proposed Liverpool & Manchester Railway was considered to be a seriouseconomic threat to the Bridgewater Canal, which was making a fortune byshipping goods between Liverpool and Manchester. In 1826, after several yearsof debate, Parliament gave permission for the Manchester & Liverpool Railwayto be built in 1826. Passenger trains started at the Crown Street Station inLiverpool and terminated at Water Street in Manchester. The directors of theLiverpool & Manchester company were unsure whether to use locomotives orstationary engines on their line. To help them reach a decision, it wasdecided to hold a competition where the winning locomotive would be awarded500. The idea being that if the locomotive was good enough, it would be theone used on the new railway. The competition was held at Rainhill duringOctober 1829. Each competing locomotive had to haul a load of three times itsown weight at a speed of at least 10 mph. The locomotives had to run twentytimes up and down the track at Rainhill which made the distance roughlyequivalent to a return trip between Liverpool and Manchester. Afraid thatheavy locomotives would break the rails, only machines that weighed less thansix tons could compete in the competition. Ten locomotives took part. The'Rocket', built by George (1781 - 1848) and his son Robert Stephenson (1803 -1859), won the competition. The Liverpool & Manchester railway was opened on15th September, 1830.


One volume

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Transferred from the BLPES pamphletcollection

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