Rainhill and religion

Resource Type: Image | Posted on 18th November 2011 by Liam Physick

Here, the leaflet goes on to explain the alleged religious lessons from the Rainhill Trials. “Many claimed they were trying for the £500 prize but, like the Perseverance, never arrived”, it asserts. This is erroneous: the Perseverance did in fact turn up at the Trials but had been badly damaged along the way, and so was unable to compete until the last day. The leaflet then goes to condemn the Cycloped for treating the Trials flippantly (bizzarely, the author[s] appear[s] to attribute this attitude to the locomotive itself - an inanimate object - rather than its designer!), which supposedly parallels how many people treat the Ten Commandments as a joke, only to pay the price for it on Judgement Day. Next, it castigates the Sans Pareil for “its boastful name”, being over the weight limit and wasting fuel (both contrary to the conditions), and ridicules it for having a “leaky boiler [which] had been fed with more oatmeal than would feed a pig to fatten the holes!” This apparently shows how some people make a good effort to please God, but do not meet all his requirements, and suffer the consequences. Meanwhile, the Novelty, fast, impressive in appearance and popular with the crowds, but ultimately “exploding”, symbolises the fact that certain people are well regarded by those who know them, and “lead ‘good’ lives, and would seem to be going to heaven, but cracking up under the real test.” (Both these harsh verdicts, implying that the Sans Pareil and the Novelty were completely useless, ignore the good service these locomotives provided on the Bolton and Leigh and St. Helens and Runcorn Gap Railways respectively - they hardly suffered the equivalent of going to Hell, even if they could not meet the more demanding requirements of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway - the Sans Pareil was actually in service for longer than the Rocket.) The Rocket, by contrast, the leaflet notes, was “Built with careful thought” (unlike the “hurriedly built” Sans Pareil), and was “simpler, more robust.” “Only the Rocket kept the rules and passed the test”, just as, the leaflet argues, we must fill every one of God’s criteria in order to get to Heaven - indeed, as Jesus did, dying for our sins, thus allowing us all to be saved

Rainhill and religion

Tagged under: steam locomotives, liverpool and manchester railway, tender locomotives, rocket, rainhill trials, tank locomotives, sans pareil, novelty, religion, perseverance

Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives

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