Stephenson's Rocket is an early 0-2-2 steam locomotive built in Newcastle at the Forth Street Works of Robert Stephenson and Company in 1829.
Rocket is perhaps the most famous engine in the world, launching the steam age at the Liverpool and Manchester Railway's Rainhill Trials of 1829, beating four other engines to win. The real Rocket, now rebuilt, lives at the Science Museum in London while a replica, built in 1979, lives at the National Railway Museum in York. There is also another replica Rocket living at the NRM, built in 1935 as a sectionalised reproduction, numbered 4089.
During 2007, the 1979 replica was withdrawn because his ten-year boiler certificate had expired. In addition to this, the museum plans to fit a new boiler with a riveted copper firebox and more accurate frames. The NRM managed to raise funds for Rocket's next overhaul at the Flour Mill Boiler Works in the Forest of Dean, which was completed in January 2010. Now, Rocket is back at the National Railway Museum, though it is currently out of service and undergoing maintenance.
Though the Rocket was not the first steam locomotive, it was the first to bring together several innovations to produce the most advanced locomotive of its day.
Bio in the Railway Series
Although not mentioned in the text, the 1979 replica Rocket made a cameo appearance alongside Thomas in Thomas and the Great Railway Show, on the occasion of Thomas' visit to the National Railway Museum in York.
Bio in the Television Series
In the television series, Stephenson's Rocket is represented as Stephen, a friend of Sir Robert Norramby, the Earl of Sodor. Though his design is based on the post-Rainhill modifications, Stephen has identified himself as the original Rocket, describing the Rainhill trials and his subsequent working years.
The 1979 replica Rocket is painted yellow with black lining, a white funnel and a brown water tank.
- Mahito Tsujimura (Japan; Hashire! The "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends" Steam Locomotive is Alive!)
- The Rev W. Awdry's model of Stephenson's Rocket is currently on display at the Narrow Gauge Museum in Tywyn as part of "The Awdry Collection". It was converted from an Airfix kit.