The Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR) was the world’s first inter-city passenger railway on which all the trains were timetabled and were hauled by steam locomotives.
The Stockton & Darlington line opened in 1825 considerably reduced the cost of transporting coal. It soon became clear that large profits could be made by building railways. A group of businessmen led by James Sandars recruited George Stephenson to build them a railway. The main objective was to reduce the costs of transporting raw materials and finished goods between Manchester, the centre of the textile industry and Liverpool, the most important port in the north of England. The L&MR was planned as a double-track standard-gauge mainline with regular passenger and freight trains running to a timetable. According to Stephenson’s project, the length of the railway was to be 35 miles; two tunnels and a nine-arch viaduct were to be constructed. The track was to cross the 4.75-mile peat1 bog of Chat Moss.
At first, the directors of the L&MR Company were in a quandary2 about hauling trains either using stationary engines, located at intervals along the line, or locomotives. They decided to hold an extraordinary locomotive competition to choose the best machine. The winner was to receive the £500 award. The rules of the trials were as follows:
• The locomotive was required to haul a load, three times its own weight, for a distance of 70 miles at not less than 10 mph.
• The locomotive was to consume its own smoke.
• The locomotive was not to weigh more than 4 tons (if carried on four wheels) or 6 tons (if carried on six).
• The locomotive was not to cost more than £550 to build.
The so-called Rainhill Trials3 began on the 5 October and ended on the 14 October.The initial ten competitors were quickly reduced to three: Rocket built by Stephenson; Sane Pareil4 built by Hackworth, Novelty5 built by Braithwaite and Ericsson.
Sans Pareil nearly completed the trials, though at first, there was some doubt as to whether it would be allowed to compete as it was 136 kg overweight. It did eight trips before cracking a cylinder. Despite the failure, the engine was bought by the Liverpool & Manchester, where it served for two years.
Novelty was lighter and considerably faster than the other locomotives in the competition. It reached an unheard-of speed 28 mph (45 kmh) on the first day of competition. This locomotive was the crowd favorite. But because of problems with a boiler pipe, which could not be fixed on site5, the locomotive didn’t complete the test trip.
Rocket was the only locomotive to complete the trials. It hauled 13 tons, achieving a top speed of 30 mph. Rocket was declared the winner of the £500 prize. The Stephensons were given the contract to produce locomotives for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.
The official opening of the L&MR took place on September 15, 1830. Guests of honor, including the Duke of Wellington (then the prime minister) and many other VIPs assembled at the Liverpool station for a tour to Manchester. On returning to Liverpool, they would sit down for a banquet. Unfortunately, the events did not go according to plan.
The day started with a procession of eight trains departing from Liverpool. The parade was led by Northumbrian7 driven by Stephenson. Crowds of spectators gathered along the line. The procession stopped at Parkside for the locomotives to take on water. During this stop, there was a tragic accident – William Huskisson, the MP8 for Liverpool, fell into the path of Rocket. The locomotive could not stop in time and ran over his leg, crushing it.
Despite this sorry start, the railway soon proved its worth. Regular passenger services began on September 17 and rapidly became more popular than the competing road carriages. In December, when several new locomotives had been delivered, goods services started. The success of the L&MR stimulated railway construction in other parts of the country. Between 1833 and 1843, 3,680 miles of railway were laid down.
In 1845, the L&MR merged with the Grand Junction Railway and a year later with the new London & North Western Railway.
Notes: 1peat – торф;
2to be in a quandary – быть в замешательстве;
3Rainhill Trials – Рэйнхильские испытания;
4Sans Pareil – Санс Парэйл (Несравненный);
5Novelty – Новелти (Новинка);
6on site – на месте;
7Northumbrian – Нортамберлендец;
8MP – член парламента.
Ex. 12. Mark the following statements as ‘True’ or ‘False’. Use the following introductory phrases:
| That’s right.
I quite agree with you.
You are absolutely right!
|| I’m afraid, you are mistaken.
I can’t agree with you.
I don’t think so.
|| I don’t know exactly.
You are partly right.
It’s difficult to say, but I guess…
1. Steam traction was used on the Liverpool-Manchester Railway.
2. Before the Liverpool-Manchester Railway had been opened, it was very expensive to transport coal.
3. The Stockton & Darlington line demonstrated that railway construction might be profitable business.
4. James Sandars, a businessman from Liverpool, was recruited by George Stephenson, a mechanical engineer, to survey the track.
5. Manchester is well known for its textile industry and Liverpool is the most important port in the south of England.
6. The plan was to construct a mainline to the standard gauge for passenger and freight operation.
7. The Liverpool-Manchester Railway resembled a modern railroad because the freight trains strictly kept a timetable.
8. Initially, the director of the Liverpool-Manchester Railway Company didn’t know which engines to choose.
9. The competition was held to award the sum of 500 pounds to the best locomotive driver.
10. The locomotives taking part in the competition were to follow five rules.
11. Stephenson’s Rocket won the competition because visiting dignitaries tipped the judges.
12. It was a wonderful event, and everybody was in the seventh heaven.
13. Since September 17, 1830, regular passenger services have dominated over more traditional road transport.
14. The success of the Liverpool-Manchester railway gave a great stimulus to railway construction in England.
15. Between 1833 and 1843, 2,300 km of railway were laid down in the country.