Bernard Champness "Manchester to Liverpool by Train in 1834"
Rocket will be on display at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry in a free temporary exhibition open to the public from 25 September 2018 until 8 September 2019. Location in Museum: New Warehouse, ground floor, Revolution Manchester.
Rocket was built to run on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR), the world's first inter-city railway, The L&MR was founded on 24 May 1823 by Liverpool merchants, Joseph Sandars and Henry Booth, to link the textile mills of Manchester to the nearest deep water port at the port of Liverpool. In 1826 George Stephenson was appointed to design and build the 36 mile route. The route of the L&MR required 63 bridges and viaducts; the most dramatic of these was the Sankey viaduct at 60 feet high. In 1829 when the railway was nearing completion, a competition with a prize of £500 was held on a stretch of track at Rainhill to decide on the best mode of transport for the railway. Rocket, designed by Robert Stephenson, won the Rainhill trials. It was the only locomotive to successfully complete the trials, averaging 12mph and achieving a top speed of 30 mph.
The L&MR opened on 15 September 1830 with a procession of Stephenson's locomotives leaving Liverpool, each drawing carriages full of dignitaries, including the Duke of Wellington and William Huskinsson, MP for Liverpool. Unfortunately, part of the procession had stopped at Parkside; Huskinsson had descended on to the track and was mown down by one of the locomotives. Despite the fatal accident, the potential of the locomotive and the railway as a means of transport was recognised and realised.
In early 1830, 250 passengers per day were travelling by stagecoach between Manchester and Liverpool. Within a few months of opening, the L&MR was carrying 1,200 passengers per day. The number of daily stagecoaches soon dropped from 29 to four. By 1835, just one daily stagecoach service remained.
Liverpool Road Station is the world's oldest passenger station. Construction of the Coach Offices began in June 1830, just three months before the opening of the railway. The Coach Offices consisted of two booking halls on the ground floor, one for first class passengers and the other for second class passengers. Two corresponding waiting rooms were on the first floor at rail level. Passenger services only continued at Liverpool Road Station until 1844 when passenger trains were re-routed to the new Hunt's Bank (now Victoria) Station. Liverpool Road Station is a Grade 1 listed building and now forms part of the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.