- “We steam engines were the latest thing, and people were worried about us. We didn't always work right, or at all! We were brand new and experimental, but we soon proved we were stronger and faster than horses!”
- ―Stephen's flashback
Novelty was an early steam engine built by John Ericsson and John Braithwaite. With its unique design, it is now regarded as the very first tank engine.
In the flashback, Novelty competed against Stephen, Sans Pareil, and a horse-drawn cart in a race trial. Novelty was lighter and considerably faster than the other engines in the competition, with the exception of Stephen. Even so, it is implied he broke down first during the trials.
Novelty is based on the real Novelty locomotive, one of the engines that competed against Stephen's basis, Stephenson's Rocket in the Rainhill Trials in 1829. Two replicas exist today, one using parts from the original locomotive, which is currently preserved at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England.
Novelty is painted brown with a blue running board, bufferbeams, and wheels. It has black pipes and inner workings.
- Novelty reuses Toby's face; as a result, the bottom half of the boiler is square rather than round.
- In reality, many people wanted the Novelty to win the Rainhill Trials due to its simplicity, elegance and familiarity to horse carts. However, it ironically kept breaking down because of those reasons.
Sans Pareil is an early steam engine built by Timothy Hackworth and William Hedley.
Stephen implied that Sans Pareil broke down during the trial run, thus allowing him to win the race.
Sans Pareil is based on the real Sans Pareil locomotive. The original locomotive is on static display at the Shildon Locomotion Museum, and a working replica is preserved at the National Railway Museum.
Sans Pareil is painted light green, with yellow lining and yellow wheels. It also has a black funnel, water barrel, and running board.
- Sans Pareil is heavily modified compared to its basis; the driver operates from the rear of the engine in the flashback, standing beside the funnel, rather than on the front as was the case with the prototype. This was most likely done to accommodate a face on Sans Pareil without the driver obstructing its view.
- In Stephen's flashback, Sans Pareil was not shown with siderods, appearing to be a 0-2-2 whereas the real engine was a 0-4-0.
- Sans Pareil came second in the Rainhill Trials because of a cracked cylinder. It was a close call, as it came close to the Rocket's abilities in speed and power in winning.
- According to historic documents, it is believed that Sans Pareil was intended to push its tender, with the driver standing at the "rear" of the vehicle. In the BBC history which deals with Stephenson's first railway, the replica Sans Pareil is driven in this manner.
- Sans Pareil name is French it means 'peerless' or 'without equal'.
- Sans Pareil reuses Stephen's face.
The Horse and Cart
The horse and railway cart competed against Stephen, Novelty, and Sans Pareil during the trial. Stephen stated that horses and carts were used prior to steam engines.
Many years later, Spencer mockingly stated that Stephen was fast compared to a horse and cart.
A horse and cart did not compete against the real Stephenson's Rocket, Novelty, and Sans Pareil during the Rainhill Trials in 1829. However, Cycloped, an early horse-powered locomotive, did attempt to compete in the trials unsuccessfully.
It was the only entry in the trials that did not rely on steam power, instead utilising a treadmill that was kept moving by a horse mounted on top. Due to the rules given for the trials, it was disqualified before even reaching the starting line.
The cart is painted lime green, with a dark green band around the middle and maroon seats and ends.