England’s Historic Railway Named an Engineering Landmark


Sept. 23, 2016


(Left to right) Derek Houghton of the Rainhill Railway and Heritage Society; Tim Broyd, president-elect of the Institution of Civil Engineers; Stuart Cameron, ASME Board of Governors nominee and former vice president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; Larry Lee, past chair of the ASME History and Heritage Committee; and Jerry Rogers, distinguished member of the American Society of Chemical Engineers and past chair of its History and Heritage Committee. (Photo by Wil Haywood, Public Information)

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway (L&MR), the world’s first inter-city railroad, was recently designated as a joint International Historic Civil and Mechanical Engineering Landmark by ASME, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the United Kingdom’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

The ceremony took place Sept. 14 at the Rainhill Library in Liverpool, England. The library is located near the Rainhill Rail Station, which was the site of the railroad’s first locomotive trials in 1829. The site was also designated as an engineering landmark by the four societies.


The Rainhill Rail Station in Liverpool, England, which was the site of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway’s first locomotive trials in 1829, was also designated as an engineering landmark at the event. (Photo by Wil Haywood, Public Information)

The L&MR, which began operations Sept. 15, 1830, is widely considered to be one of the most significant developments in transportation history as it was the first public railway to provide scheduled transportation of passengers and freight between remote cities, according to the landmark citation.

A team of engineers led by George Stephenson designed the double-tracked railway, which spanned 35 miles of challenging terrain — including Olive Mount, the Sankey Valley and Chat Moss —along its route between Liverpool and Manchester. The railway, which is still in service using its original roadbed and most of its original bridges, instituted the basic layout for nearly all rails and rolling stock that followed.


ASME Board of Governors nominee Stuart Cameron addressed the audience at the Rainhill Library landmark event. (Photo by Wil Haywood, Public Information)

ASME Board of Governors nominee Stuart Cameron and Larry Lee, past chair of the ASME History & Heritage Committee, were among the attendees at the event. The landmark designation at Rainhill Library was followed by a presentation from ICE on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway line and a visit to Rainhill Rail Station, the site of the historic Rainhill Trials, where five vehicles — including four steam locomotives — were tested on the railway prior to its launch. The Trials were the first known engineered program to evaluate rail vehicles in a real-world environment, according to the four societies.

ICE President-Elect Tim Broyd, Jerry Rogers, distinguished member of ASCE and past chair of the organization’s History and Heritage Committee, and Derek Houghton of the Rainhill Railway and Heritage Society also took part in the L&MR landmark designation event, which also featured a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England, where a replica of the Planet, an early locomotive that ran on the L&MR, is displayed.