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Friends and Rivals

Rocket. Locomotion. Sans Pareil. Three of the most significant locomotives in railway history, now under one roof.

These locomotives, spanning the years 1825 to 1829, tell the story of the birth of the modern railway and of the friends and rivals who pioneered it; George and Robert Stephenson and Timothy Hackworth.

1820s locomotive technology

Locomotion No.1 was built by Robert Stephenson and Co., Newcastle in 1825 to run on the Stockton and Darlington Railway. Though not the world’s first steam locomotive and designed for mineral trains, it was the first to haul a passenger carriage on a public railway.

Steam locomotive technology needed further development. A local and national network of engineers watched and learned from each other, improving and adding to one another’s designs so that innovation happened fast.

Timothy Hackworth was born at Wylam, the same village as George Stephenson. Briefly working for Robert Stephenson and Co. before moving to the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825, he would later improve Locomotion No.1’s boiler and replace its wheels.

Long-distance rail transport of goods and passengers between cities began with the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. New railways tested the speed and reliability of the next generation of locomotives. Rocket and Sans Pareil represented the next step forward in innovation.