Cycloped

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Cycloped
Type and origin
Power type Horse
Builder Thomas Shaw Brandreth of Liverpool
Specifications

Cycloped was an early horse-powered locomotive, built by Thomas Shaw Brandreth of Liverpool, which competed unsuccessfully in the Rainhill Trials of October 1829.

The Rainhill Trials[edit]

Model of Cycloped at Rainhill

The Cycloped was the only entry in the trials that did not rely on steam power, instead utilising a treadmill that was kept continually moving by a horse mounted on top.

Brandreth was one of the directors of the railway and some people believed that that gave the Cycloped an unfair advantage. But the Cycloped was a primitive idea and because of its failure to generate enough speed to equal its competitors—Burstall's Perseverance, Braithwaite's Novelty, Hackworth's Sans Pareil and Stephenson's Rocket—the Cycloped ultimately lost the competition in the trials. Stephenson's Rocket eventually won the trials, maintaining an average speed of 13.8 mph (22.2 km/h) for a modest consumption of coal and water.

Dandy cars[edit]

Horses had been used to pull wagons on coal and mineral tramways and plateways for some years before this. Many were arranged so that the line ran downhill from the mine to the river or coastal loading staith. Gravity could be used to run the loaded trains downhill, with the horses only required to haul the lighter empty trains back uphill.

Early examples with just one or two wagons together were pulled downhill by the horse, the horse also acting as brakes. Later trains developed better mechanical brakes and so several wagons could be coupled together as a single train. The resting horse was carried in a separate wagon or 'dandy car'. These wagons were simple unpowered wagons, with no more adaption for horses than their loading doors.

Other horse locomotives[edit]

Flying Dutchman of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, 1829

Horse locomotives occupied a negligible interval between the development of lightweight passenger-carrying public railways and the provision of viable steam locomotives. Only one other is recorded, the Flying Dutchman of the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company.