Sakhalia Net Graphics Division Baykal Acceptance of cookies

Meanwhile it was constituted, in 1826, the company Delaware and Hudson Canal, which requested and obtained the authorization to build a line in the zone of the canal. The 18th August 1828 the new railway was ready, as well as the steam engine built in England and baptized "Stourbridge Lion", which spreading dense smoke puffs made a clamorous apparition before the enthusiastic public. But also this line, made with wooden and metal compound rails, demonstrated to be too weak.

The "Rocket" wins in Rainhill plains

The commercial traffic between two important British cities, Manchester and Liverpool, was carried mostly by barges and small ships across the Manchester Ship Canal, which in the cold winters was of difficult navigation, causing great detriment to the workshops and factories in the zone, which were forced to shut down. Because of that the traders of both cities decided to build a railway connecting both cities. They proposed this project to George Stephenson, who gladly accepted. It was required only to ask for authorization and financing from the Government. This one passed the request to the Parliament, where it would have disappeared in the nothing if were not for the intervention of the deputy for Manchester, who illustrated his counterparts about the invaluable economic and social welfare that the railway would contribute to the region.

Despite of that, the tempers were not appeased. The farmers, infuriated, dedicated themselves to hunt the workers who cleaned the terrain, and the inhabitants of the countryside, benighted people instigated by agents from the navigation companies - the most interested part in bringing down the railway project -, rushed to beat the workers of Stephenson, under the ridiculous accusation of wanting to ignite their homes with the sparks thrown by the locomotives. Little by little were overcome the difficulties and the parliamentarians finally reached an agreement: the authorization would be granted in the form of a contest, in which it was demanded that the locomotive should have enough power to drag a total load of 200 hundredweights (10160 kilograms) at a speed of 10 miles per hour (16 kilometers per hour). The prize was set as 500 pound sterling.

George Stephenson and his son Robert took the challenge and worked in the new machine, baptized as "Rocket" by this latter. In the contest took part as well other manufacturers, such as John Braithwaite with his "Novelty" and Timothy Hackworth with the "Sans Pareil", on which he had coupled the wheels with connecting rods, very important factor in the traction effort for heavy loads. Other machines, however, were not accepted in the competition, because they did not reach the minimum speed required, or because they used tricks like using a well hidden horse as prime mover.

Finally, the Stephenson were the winners. The "Rocket", even with its free wheels, surpassed all the expectatives; with a heavier load than the one required, the locomotive finished the journey in the Rainhill plains, reaching the speed, then amazing, of 36 kilometers per hour, more than doubling the required speed. This happened the 6th October 1830. Part of the merit should be attributed to Sir Edmund Pease, who not only had an immense faith in his friend, but also financed the largest part of the expenses generated by the construction of the "Rocket", which would be finally preserved along with the "Sans Pareil" in the South Kensington Science Museum of London.

Locomotive Rocket, 1830
Locomotive "Rocket" built by George and Robert Stephenson.

Also the "Experiment", first luxury train, was a work from Stephenson, and the locomotive was built on purpose with a convoy of some wagons which made ostentation of sumptuous seats, padded and upholstered in silk, with similarly refined curtains in the windows and a provision of mirrors. But due a bit to the high cost of the ticket and a lot to the distrust from the representatives of the higher classes, who continued preferring their private carriages or the stagecoaches for their displacements, this luxury train was a bad business, and subsequently Stephenson dedicated himself to the construction of machines for common transport, freight and passengers, which were demanded from America.

He thought also in more powerful locomotives, with six and also four wheels, and one of these was the "Royal George". Other machines for mixed convoys, freight and passengers, were the "Black Diamant" and the "Hope". So, Stephenson passed from triumph to triumph; important positions were offered to him in his country, but he refused everything because he wanted to continue his studies and work, while his machines transposed all the confines of Europe reaching the farthest countries. George and Robert Stephenson created, albeit with capital from third parties, a large and powerful industry that still exists. In Liverpool a monument was erected in his honor, and still during his life, which reads: "To George Stephenson, inventor of the locomotive, England is thankful."

Railway signal, circa 1830
One of the first installations of signals in the British railway.

The steaming monster in the domain of the native Americans

In that time, still existed a large number of American Indians, dispersed throughout the whole continent which was still largely unexplored. In North America they settled in Canada, in the endless grasslands in the center of United States, in the jungles of the south-east, in the deserts and steppes of the west, in the Rockies to the west and in the Appalachians to the east, everywhere between the Mackenzie and the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Particularly in the Rocky Mountains, the rich deposits of precious metals, platinum, gold and silver, and other important minerals such as copper, zinc and coal, attracted the white diggers, who fought each other to seize the valuable resources hidden in the bowels of the Earth.

Wild West locomotive

It was started then a long period of bloody fights with the "red-skinned" peoples... and were not few the white men and the black slaves who fell victim of the poisonous arrows from the ferocious warriors of feathered head; but eventually these were exterminated in such a way that very few survived during the 20th century. The truceless war of the American Natives against the hated "palefaces" became more violent and wild when the first railway companies started, in 1828, the works to lay the first railways. The most audacious attacks frequently caught by surprise the most sagacious pioneers and seasoned colonizers, who worked intensely preparing the railway equipment. Sabotage and vandalism against the facilities was as well the norm: destruction of the works, tearing away of the already installed rails, robbery of materials and tools, arson...

Continue reading...