The Rainhill Trials were a remarkable event by any standards. Very few people had ever seen a locomotive in action so as far as the public of the time were concerned it would have been like watching what today would be termed science fiction.
The racecourse atmosphere of the Trials was clear with large crowds, a grandstand and a band playing.
There was the equivalent of a racecard naming the runners and an excitement in the air about the prospect of making – or losing – money.
The Times of 8th October reported: ‘Never, perhaps, on any previous occasion, were so many scientific gentlemen and practical engineers collected together at one spot as there were on the rail-road yesterday.”
Spectators lined the 1.5 miles of tracks with 200 L&MR employees struggling to kept them off the course. The two local public houses did a roaring trade, one of them even named itself ‘The Rail Road Tavern’.