In 1811 John Blenkinsop, the manager of Middleton Colliery and Matthew Murray, an engineer from Leeds began experimenting with producing locomotives. Blenkinsop and Murray rejected the idea that a steam locomotive with smooth wheels on a smooth rail would have sufficient adhesion to propel itself and a load. They therefore experimented with producing a rack railway.
The rack railway system was patented by John Blenkinsop in 1811. The system involved the combination of a locomotive cogwheel and toothed rack rail. The Salamanca first appeared in public on 24th June, 1812. Soon afterwards Blenkinsop and Murray produced three more of these locomotives. However, Blenkinsop's locomotives created heavy wear of the driving gear wheel and the horizontal rack and the idea was not used by other collieries.