Whitstable, worked partly by fixed engines and partly by locomotives—quickly adopted steam traction. But the Liverpool & Manchester railway, opened in 1830, first impressed the national mind with the fact that a revolution in the methods of travelling had really taken place; and further, it was for it that the first high-speed locomotive of the modern type was invented and constructed. The directors having offered a prize of, £500 for the best engine, trials were held on a finished portion of the line at Rainhill in October 1829, and three engines took part—the Rocket of George and Robert Stephenson, the Novelty of John Braithwaite and John Ericsson, and the Sanspareil of Timothy Hackworth. The last two of these engines broke down under trial, but the Rocket fulfilled the conditions and won the prize. Its two steam cylinders were 8 in. in diameter, with a stroke of 16½ in., and the driving wheels, which were placed in front under the funnel, were 4 ft. 8½ in. in diameter. The engine weighed 4¼ tons; the tender following it, 3 tons 4cwt.; and the two loaded carriages drawn by it on the trial, 9 tons 11 cwt.: thus the weight drawn was 12¾ tons, and the gross total of the train 17 tons. The boiler evaporated 18¼ cub. ft., or 114 gals., of water an hour, and the steam pressure was 50 ℔ per square inch. The engine drew a train weighing 13 tons 35 m. in 48 minutes, the rate being thus nearly 44 m. an hour; subsequently it drew an average gross load of 40 tons behind the tender at 13·3 m. an hour. The Rocket possessed the three elements of efficiency of the modern locomotive—the internal water-surrounded fire-box and the multitubular flue in the boiler; the blast-pipe, by which the steam after doing its work in the cylinders was exhausted up the chimney, and thus served to increase the draught and promote the rapid combustion of the fuel; and the direct connexion of the steam cylinders, one on each side of the engine, with the two driving wheels mounted on one axle. Of these features, the blast-pipe had been employed by Trevithick on his engine of 1804, and direct driving, without intermediate gearing, had been adopted in several previous engines; but the use of a number (25) of small tubes in place of one or two large flues was an innovation which in conjunction with the blast-pipe contributed greatly to the efficiency of the engine. After the success of the Rocket, the Stephensons received orders to build seven more engines, which were of very similar design, though rather larger, being four-wheeled engines, with the two driving wheels in front and the cylinders behind; and in October 1830 they constructed a ninth engine, the Planet, also for the Liverpool & Manchester railway, which still more closely resembled the modern type, since the driving wheels were placed at the fire-box end, while the two cylinders were arranged under the smoke-box, inside the frames. The main features of the steam locomotive were thus established, and its subsequent development is chiefly a history of gradual increase in size and power, and of improvements in design, in material and in mechanical construction, tending to increased efficiency and economy of operation.
In America the development of the locomotive dates from almost the same time as in England. The earliest examples used in that country, apart from a small experimental model constructed by Peter Cooper, came from England. In 1828, on behalf of the Delaware & Hudson Canal Company, which had determined to build a line, 16 m. long, from Carbondale to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, Horatio Allen ordered three locomotives from Messrs Foster & Rastrick, of Stourbridge, and one from George Stephenson. The latter, named the America, was the first to be delivered, reaching New York in January 1829, but one of the others, the Stourbridge Lion, was actually the first practical steam locomotive to run in America, which it did on the 9th of August 1829. The first American-built locomotive, the Best Friend, of Charleston, was made at the West Point Foundry, New York, in 1830, and was put to work on the South Carolina railroad in that year. It had a vertical boiler, and was carried on four wheels all coupled, the two cylinders being placed in an inclined position and having a bore of about 6 in. with a stroke of 16 in. It is reported to have hauled 40 or 50 passengers in 4 or 5 cars at a speed of 16–21 m. an hour. After a few months of life it was blown up, its attendant, annoyed by the sound of the escaping steam, having fastened down the safety-valve. A second engine, the West Point, also built at West Point Foundry for the South Carolina railroad, differed from the Best Friend in having a horizontal boiler with 6 or 8 tubes, though in other respects it was similar. In 1831 the Baltimore & Ohio Company offered a prize of $4000 for an American engine weighing 3½ tons, able to draw 15 tons at 15 m. an hour on the level: it was won by the York of Messrs Davis & Gartner in the following year. Matthias W. Baldwin, the founder of the famous Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, built his first engine, Old Ironsides, for the Philadelphia, Germantown & Morristown railroad; first tried in November 1832, it was modelled on Stephenson’s Planet, and had a single pair of driving wheels at the firebox end and a pair of carrying wheels under the smoke-box. His second engine, the E. L. Miller, delivered to the South Carolina railroad in 1834, presented a feature which has remained characteristic of American locomotives—the front part was supported on a four-wheeled swivelling bogie-truck, a device, however, which had been applied to Puffing Billy in England when it was rebuilt in 1815.
The Liverpool & Manchester line achieved a success which surpassed the anticipations even of its promoters, and in consequence numerous projects were started for the construction of railways in various parts of Great Britain. In the decade following its opening nearly 2000 m. of railway were sanctioned by parliament, including the beginnings of most of the existing trunk-lines, and in 1840 the actual mileage reached 1331 m. The next decade saw the “railway mania.” The amount of capital which parliament authorized railway companies to raise was about 4½ millions on the average of the two years 1842–1843, 17¾ millions in 1844, 60 millions in 1845, and 132 millions in 1846, though this last sum was less than a quarter of the capital proposed in the schemes submitted to the Board of Trade; and the wild speculation which occurred in railway shares in 1845 contributed largely to the financial crisis of 1847. In 1850 the mileage was 6635, in 1860 it was 10,410, and in 1870 it was 15,310. The increase in the decade 1860–1870 was thus nearly 50%, but subsequently the rate of increase slackened, and the mileages in 1880, 1890 and 1900 were 17,935, 20,073 and 21,855. In the United States progress was more rapid, for, beginning at 2816 in 1840, the mileage reached 9015 in 1850, 30,600 in 1860, 87,801 in 1880, and 198,964 in 1900. Canada had no railway till 1853, and in South America construction did not begin till about the same time. France and Austria opened their first lines in 1828; Belgium, Germany, Russia, Italy and Holland in the succeeding decade; Switzerland and Denmark in 1844, Spain in 1848, Sweden in 1851, Norway in 1853, and Portugal in 1854; while Turkey and Greece delayed till 1860 and 1869. In Africa Egypt opened her first line (between Alexandria and Cairo) in 1856, and Cape Colony followed in 1860. In Asia the first line was that between Bombay and Tannah, opened in 1853, and in Australia Victoria began her railway system in 1854 (see also the articles on the various countries for further details about their railways).
Transcontinental Railways.—A railway line across North America was first completed in 1869, when the Union Pacific, building from the Missouri river at Omaha (1400 m. west of New York), met the Central Pacific, which built from San Francisco eastwards, making a line 1848 m. long through a country then for the most part uninhabited. This was followed by the Southern Pacific in 1881, from San Francisco to New Orleans, 2489 miles; the Northern Pacific, from St Paul to Portland, Ore., in 1883; the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fé, from Kansas City to San Diego; and the Great Northern from St Paul to Seattle and New Westminster in 1893. Meanwhile the Canadian Pacific, a true transcontinental line, was built from Montreal, on Atlantic tide-water, to the Pacific at Vancouver, 2906 m. But these lines have been