The Rainhill Trials: The Greatest Contest of Industrial Britain and The Birth of Commercial Rail (Christopher Mcgowan)

The Rainhill Trials: The Greatest Contest of Industrial Britain and The Birth of Commercial Rail (Christopher Mcgowan) lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my Transport Rail section. priced at £6.50! Call in and get 40% OFF that price when you mention this post…

London: Little, Brown, 2004, Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white photographs; Black & white drawings; Portraits;

From the cover: ON 6 OCTOBER 1829, in a small hamlet just outside Liverpool, ten thousand spectators gathered to witness one of the most remarkable events of the Industrial Age: a battle between locomotives that became known as the Rainhill Trials.

The competition that captured the publics imagination was staged by the fledgling Liverpool & Manchester Railway Company. As the 35-mile track between the two towns neared completion, the Company wanted to see if a locomotive could be built to satisfy its requirements. A prize of five hundred pounds was offered, together with a contract to supply engines to the Company.

Five machines were entered, but Thomas Brandreths horse-drawn Cycloped could attain only half the stipulated speed of 10 m.p.h., and Timothy Burstalls Perseverance, which looked like a giant iron bottle mounted between four cartwheels, creaked along at walking pace. This made it a three-way race between Robert Stephensons black and yellow locomotive, the Rocket; Timothy Hackworths dark horse, Sans Pareil; and the crowds favourite, John Braithwaite and John Ericssons Novelty. Over several days, the crowds watched in astonishment as these machines raced to unprecedented speeds of 30 m.p.h., thrilled by the carnival atmosphere and the unfamiliar chuff of steam.

Written with equal attention to social and engineering history and richly textured with anecdotes and pen-portraits, Christopher McGowans superb new book brings these remarkable events vividly to life. The Rainhill Trials describes the evolution of the engines and the huge historical impact of the Trials themselves: how they revolutionised transport, ushered in the age of steam locomotion, transformed the lives of the engineers who took part and stoked the pace of the Industrial Revolution.

Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper.

Brown boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [X] 379 pages. Index. 8¾” x 5½”.

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