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Locomotion No. I

The Stockton & Darlington Railway opened in 1825. It was the first public railway in the world to transport goods and passengers using steam locomotives. Locomotion No. I was built by George Stephenson and his son Robert. George himself drove the engine on the Railway’s opening day at speeds of up to 12 mph, which was very slow by today’s standards.

Stephenson's Locomotion Number 1
Locomotion No. I

Although advanced for its time, Locomotion No. 1 was not without its problems. It broke a wheel just a month after starting work and, in 1828, its boiler exploded, killing the driver John Cree. Robert Stephenson would go on to refine the steam locomotive, unveiling the famous ‘Rocket’ in 1829, which could travel at 29 mph and provided the template for steam engine design for the next 150 years.

Locomotion No. I is one of the most famous railway engines in the world. It can be seen on display at Head of Steam – the Darlington Railway Museum.