Stephenson’s Rocket

Resource Type: Image | Posted on 16th September 2011 by Liam Physick

Here is a replica of the most famous locomotive of all time, George Stephenson’s Rocket. It was built to a 0-2-2 design (no leading wheels, two driving wheels and two trailing wheels) which was the original design for locomotives on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway - the Rocket was one of nine locomotives built to this design used on the pioneering railway (another engine in the same class was the Novelty, the Rocket’s rival at the Rainhill Trials, but its driving wheels, unlike on the Rocket, were the same size as the trailing wheels) - but was quickly superseded by the 2-2-0 and 2-2-2 classes as the locomotives grew larger. The Rocket itself was built for the Rainhill Trials at the Forth Street Works, owned by Robert Stephenson and Company (the world’s first railway engine manufacturing company, owned by George Stephenson, his son Robert, Edward Pease and Michael Longridge). It was the first locomotive to combine a number of innovations, making it the most advanced locomotive of its time and the template for most subsequent steam engines. These innovations included a multi-tubular boiler, horizontal cylinders, the uncoupling of the second pair of wheels from the leading pair and separating the firebox from the boiler. Following the Trials, it was modified, getting a smokebox and having its chimney shortening and its cylinders reduced in size. On the opening day of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the Rocket, driven by Joseph Locke, struck and killed William Huskisson. Following the end of its service on the Liverpool and Manchester in the late 1830s, it ran on Lord Carlisle’s Railway (run by George Howard, 6th Earl of Carlisle) in Cumberland until 1840, when it was retired. It is now on display at the Science Museum in London. Over the years, a number of replicas of the Rocket have been made. Two of these are on display at the National Railway Museum: one, a static 1935 cut-away model, and a working 1979 copy, originally built for the 150th anniversary of the Rainhill Trials and for the re-enactment of the famous event at the Rocket 150 celebrations in 1980. A 1934 replica was sent to the Nuremberg, along with the 1979 replica of the Sans Pareil, to celebrate 175 years of steam locomotives in Germany

Stephenson’s Rocket

Tagged under: steam locomotives, liverpool and manchester railway, tender locomotives, rocket 150, rocket, rainhill trials, george stephenson, sans pareil, robert stephenson, william huskisson

Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives

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