Tour of the second oldest steam locomotive in Rochdale 30 years ago


A train enthusiast shared photos of a very special overnight visitor who stayed in Rochdale in 1980.

On May 21, 1980, an old steam locomotive built in 1881 spent the night on a low bed truck parked behind Rochdale Town Hall.

He was en route from the Worth Valley Railway in Haworth, West Yorkshire to Rainhill for the 150th anniversary of the famous steam locomotive trials won by Stephenson’s revolutionary “Rocket” design.

While on Manchester Road in Sudden, the truck suffered a puncture and neighborhood children had a view of the grandstand when the wheel was changed.

Richard Greenwood MBE of Rochdale, now in his 80s, took the photos.

He said: “The first intercity railway to open was between Liverpool and Manchester, and at the time they hadn’t developed any steam locomotives at all.

“To see if they could lean on steam, they had a contest, and there were half a dozen entries.

“Stephenson’s Rocket was the winner by far, so he was the father of the steam engine.

“This competition took place in 1830.

“150 years later, in 1980, British Railway decided to hold a celebration of the event and the competition, and they held the event on the same stretch of track they used before, namely Rainhill.

“They gathered around fifty steam engines.

“This engine shown in the photo is the second oldest steam engine.

“It was built in 1881.

“It was parked in Rochdale so people could see it.

“This engine is now on the East Lancashire Railway, and it sometimes arrives at Heywood.”


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