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Visit the National Railway Museum vast halls of giant locomotives. Escape your home and dive into the past, present and future of the railways. Meet world-changing inventions like Rocket and come face-to-face with the fastest steam locomotive in the world.

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  • The name Rocket was chosen by George Stephenson, the ‘Father of Railways’ and of Robert, after he had read an account of military rockets developed by Sir William Congrave in 1805 at the Royal Arsenal Woolwich.

  • Rocket’s first trials were at Killingworth Colliery, near Newcastle. It was then dismantled for transportation over land to Carlisle and onward by sea to Liverpool where it was put back together ready for the competition.

  • Rocket took part in the opening celebrations for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway on 15 September 1830. Sadly this occasion was marred by tragedy when the Rt Hon William Huskisson, Member of Parliament for Liverpool, was run down by Rocket , and later died of his injuries, after straying onto the track while talking to Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington.

  • In 1862 Rocket was donated by its then owners, Brampton Colliery, to the Patent Office Museum in London, that became the Science Museum, and so was saved for the Nation.

  • There have been at least nine full size replicas of Rocket, including one commissioned by Henry Ford and now on display in the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan, USA. But only the National Railway Museum has the original, now on display at York, together with two of the replicas. One is a working locomotive that steams from time to time, while another is partly sectioned to show how the locomotive worked".

Philip Benham, Chairman FNRM

This is the original Rocket—George and Robert Stephenson's world-changing locomotive which kick-started a golden era of innovation.

Behold the beauty of Stephenson's Rocket, built in 1829 to run on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway—the world's first inter-city passenger railway line.

"Rocket was not the first steam engine, but it is certainly one of the most significant—and it combined all the technological innovations available at the time to create one engine that was faster and more reliable than anything seen before".

Anthony Coulls, Senior Curator NRM

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Rub shoulders with railway legends from the past 200 years—from history-makers to record-breakers, Great Hall is home to some awe-inspiring engines.

Jump on board the high-speed Japanese bullet train—the only one of its kind outside of Japan—and learn about travel on the world's fastest passenger rail network. Ignite your imagination with talks and tours from our Explainers, see our impressive turntable in action, and relive Mallard's record-breaking 1938 run in our exhilarating simulator experience.

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