Mayors visit Stephenson's Rocket at the Science and Industry Museum

Date published: 09 April 2019

Mayors from across Greater Manchester visited a legendary steam locomotive at the Manchester Science and Industry Museum on 4 April.

Organised by the Greater Manchester Transport Heritage Partnership, the mayors visited to see Stephenson's Rocket, built to run on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which recently returned to Manchester for the first time in over 180 years.

Museum director, Sally MacDonald, said: “It is always an absolute pleasure to welcome the Greater Manchester mayors and Greater Manchester Transport Heritage Partnership to the museum, but this year it was particularly special to be able to show them the magnificent sight of Stephenson’s Rocket back in Manchester after 180 years, here on the terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway for which it was designed.”

Designed by Robert Stephenson, the Rocket proved locomotives were better at pulling trains along the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world’s first inter-city passenger railway line, rather than stationary winding engines, after winning a competition to decide the best mode of transport.

The Newcastle-built locomotive achieved an average speed of 12 miles per hour during the competition at Rainhill, with a top speed of 30 miles per hour on a locomotive-only run.

The technology applied to the design of Rocket was soon extended across the entire railway network, paving the way for the modern rail network and shaping the course of the history.

The Science and Industry Museum stands on the Manchester terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, with several historic buildings still standing, including the world’s first passenger station building and the world’s oldest remaining railway goods warehouse.

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