Thirty years after James Watt invented the steam engine, the first railway engine was constructed. It was originally used for pulling coal for short distances.
In 1829, there was a competition to build something more useful. The winner was George Stephenson's Rocket, which could pull passenger trains at 30 miles per hour!
All subsequent steam engines followed the same basic design priciples of the "Rocket" even our very own 35011 General Steam Navigation albeit much larger with enhancements, more power, improved efficiences and performance.
The UK became the centre of the train-building industry, sending engines all over the world.
Before the development of the steam-train, it took 8 days to travel between Ilfracombe and London on horseback. The Southern Railway's "Atlantic Coast Express" took just 5 1/2 hours to travel the same distance.
Children might use the ideas below as stimulus to investigate Britain’s role in the history of the steam locomotive in more detail.
A number of relatated STEM activities are currently under development and will be publshed soon