George Stephenson, Opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway
The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway constituted the first fully timetabled railway service with scheduled freight and passenger traffic relying entirely on the steam locomotive for traction. This railway was designed by George Stephenson, and the locomotives were the work of Stephenson and his son Robert, the first locomotive being the famous Rocket, which won a competition held by the proprietors of the railway at Rainhill, outside Liverpool, in 1829. The opening of the Liverpool and Manchester line may fairly be regarded as the inauguration of the railway era.
It was at the opening ceremony that the tragic death of the M.P. William Huskisson occurred. Having served as MP for Liverpool from 1823-1830, he is perhaps best known for the doubtful distinction of being the first fatal railway casualty,being run over by the train as he attempted to approach the Duke of Wellington with whom he had had a falling out.
Following the accident, George Stephenson personally drove his engine "The Rocket" to Eccles in an attempt to save Huskisson's life. In so doing he set up a world speed record by travelling the 15 miles in 25 minutes, averaging a speed of 35 miles per hour.
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