One of the icons of the industrial revolution, Stephenson’s Rocket, will return to Manchester for the first time in over 180 years in September 2018.

a photo of a steam locomotive, Stephenson's Rocket, in a gallery at the Science Museum London

Steam locomotive, remains of Robert Stephenson’s 0-2-2 locomotive “Rocket”, 1829. General view of locomotive on gallery display.

The iconic Stephenson’s Rocket, which was built to run on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the world’s first inter-city passenger railway line, will be on display at the Museum of Science and Industry from September 22 2018 until April 21 2019.

Rocket secured its place in railway history after winning the Rainhill trials, in 1829. The competition decided which locomotive would be used to pull the trains on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opening the following year.

Rocket, designed by Robert Stephenson, won the competition and secured the tender for George Stephenson, his father, who was known as the “Father of the Railways”.

The iconic locomotive’s win not only secured fame and fortune for the Stephensons, it also decided the future of the entire rail industry by proving once and for all that locomotives, rather than stationary winding engines, were the best technology to pull trains on the Liverpool to Manchester line – and by extension across the railway network that followed.

a photo of the brass name plate Rocket on the locomotive Stephenson's Rocket

Photo © Richard Moss

The Museum of Science and Industry is a particularly apt venue, as it sits on the site of the terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and the Grade I listed booking office and first class waiting room are still open to the public.

Sally MacDonald, Director of the Museum of Science and Industry, said: “The story of Manchester’s role as the world’s first industrial city is one that is at the heart of our museum, and we are excited to be finding new ways to tell these huge stories in the run up to the 200th anniversary of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 2030.

“The arrival of Stephenson’s Rocket in Manchester for the first time in 180 years is a momentous occasion, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this iconic symbol of the Industrial Revolution in the city where it sparked ‘railway mania’.”

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