Product Idea |

The Rainhill Trials


The setting is Rainhill in England. The date is October of 1829. The event is the Rainhill Trials, created by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. It was one of the most important events in locomotive history, and now you could potentially own a piece of history in LEGO form! This is a stand alone project and not an idea for a series! All five locomotives would be included in one set.

Will you reenact the events, or determine your own winner?


When the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was approaching completion, the directors ran a competition to decide whether stationary steam engines or locomotives would be used to pull the trains. Locomotives that were entered were to be subjected to a variety of tests and conditions. Several tests of speed, strength, and efficiency were run over a period of days to see which locmotive would best suit the railway. A prize of £500 (worth over £11,000 today) would also be awarded to the entry chosen.

The Entries

  • Cycloped was the only entry of the five that ran that did not use steam power. It instead relied on a horse-powered drive belt. Built by one of the railway's former directors, people believed it would have an unfair advantage. Cycloped was disqualified for not meeting the contest's rules. 
  • Perseverance was the second entry to drop out. It was damaged en route to the site of the trials, and its builder spent five days repairing it. Perseverance eventually ran, but it failed to reach the required speed of the contest. Its builder was given a £25 consolation prize anyway.
  • Sans Pareil was over the maximum weight allowed for entries, but it competed anyway. It ran eight trips before cracking a cylinder and being forced to drop out. Despite this, the railway purchased the locomotive for use for two years.
  • Novelty was the last locomotive to drop out from the trials. It was lighter and faster than the other entries, and was the crowd favorite to win the competition. Unfortunately, it suffered boiler pipe issues. These were not properly fixed, and on the next run, the engine was damaged severely and was forced to withdraw.
  • Rocket was the only locomotive to fully complete the trials. It averaged a decent speed, pulled a decent amount of weight, and was declared the overall winner. The railway contracted its builder, Robert Stephenson and Company, to produce locomotives for the railway's use.

The LEGO Model

This project was designed with both children and adults in mind. The locomotives are unique and colorful, and have features that allow children to interact with them as toys. The locomotives are also historically accurate, and are easily displayable for adults who prefer to collect and show off to playing with models. All five of the competitors are included. 

Features include:

  • Free-rolling wheels
  • Compatability with standard 8-stud wide LEGO track.
  • Ball-joint couplings 
  • Working pistons/cylinders (Rocket, Sans Pareil, Novelty)
  • Trophy and stand for three "winners"
  • Track to display the locomotives
  • Six minifigures, including ones of Rocket and Sans Pareil's builders
  • 924 total pieces

Please support this project and spread the word! 10,000 votes are steaming ahead! 

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