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Mirfield Railways 2

This section contains 11 pages use the Navigation Links at the bottom of the page to navigate.

George Stephenson

George Stephenson
"Father of the railways"

With the passing in parliament of the 1836 Manchester & Leeds Railway Act George Stephenson was appointed by the directors to be superintendent engineer of the new line. He had been working on proposed routes for the line since 1825 but much of the actual work on the new line would be carried out by Thomas Longridge Gooch, the elder brother of the more widely known Sir Daniel Gooch, working under Stephenson's supervision.
His appointment alone must have been somewhat of a coup for the company as by that time Stephenson was already an engineer of great reputation and would go on to be remembered by many as "The father of the railways".

Stephenson himself came from quite lowly beginnings. Born in Wylam, Northumberland on the 9th June 1781 to illiterate parents he himself was uneducated and gained his first employment as an assistant fireman at the local colliery.

The young Stephenson taught himself to read and write and began to make a name for himself with his expertise working on and improving of the primitive steam engines employed in the local mines.
From these lowly beginnings he  would go on to be chief engineer to the Stockton & Darlington Railway, the first publicly financed passenger railway in the world.

He was destined to be involved with many other great engineering feats but is probably best remembered for the locomotive "The Rocket" designed with his son Robert which won the Rain Hill trials in 1829.

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