• DE
  • EN
  • FR
  • International Database and Gallery of Structures


General Information

Completion: 15 September 1830
Status: in use

Project Type

Function / usage: Railroad (railway) line


km Name
Show coordinates on a map

Technical Information


total length 50 km
number of tracks 2
track gauge 1 435 mm



Agitation for improved communication between seaport Liverpool and Manchester, capital of the textile region and a major engineering centre.


The merchants of Liverpool and Manchester look for a mode of transportation that is less costly than the canal or roads linking the two cities.
Quaker Joseph Sandars meets with William James who proposes the construction of a railroad line to link the two cities. He offers to build it in 18 months for a cost of £100,000. His offer is accepted.


A provisional committee is created. William James visits George Stephenson working on the Stockton & Darlington Railway at the time.


Edward Pease, Michael Longbridge, George Stephenson and his son Robert create the first company to build locomotives — «Robert Stephenson & Company» — at Forth Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.


Henry Booth (1789-1869) and Lester Ellis joint the committee.


George Stephenson becomes the company engineer.

20 May 1824

The committee chooses to use steam engines. Henry Booth estimates the cost of the railroad line with double track at £300,000.

29 October 1824

A first brochure published by the Liverpool & Manchester Company estimates the necessary capital at £400,000 to be divided into stocks of £100. It is signed by Henry Booth, president of the company.


A subscription is issued at £3 per part. Iimportant land owners as well as the canal operators are opposed to the project.

21 March 1825
— 1 June 1825

A first bill is rejected by a committee of the House of the Commons because of the incapacity of George Stephenson to answer questions satisfactorily. He is replaced by George Rennie (1791-1866) and his brother John (1794-1874), sons of John Rennie (1761-1821), engineer with a good reputation, with their assistant Charles Blacker Vignoles to execute a new study and to strengthen the company's case. The promoters of the project adopt a more southerly track alignment which increases the costs from £400,000 to £510,000.


A new bill is presented to parliament with a list of subscribers:

OriginNameNumber of parts
Other24286 1/3
Marquis of Stafford11000
Total3084233 1/3


George Stephenson is hired back as engineer for an annual salary of £1000.
Charles Lawrence becomes president of the company until 1830.

5 May 1826

The bill is passed in parliament with a vote of 88 to 41. It imposes a limit on dividends of 10% or if they are superior to limit the fares. The Liverpool & Manchester Railway Company is authorized to issue 5,100 stocks of £100 value. The government grants a reimbursable credit of £100.000.


The commissioners in charge of paying out the £100.000 credit send Telford to supervise the construction. He criticizes Stephenson's methods and his authorization to also act as entrepreneur.


A new bill is passed by Parliament allowing the company to emitt 5,100 stocks of £25 for the purchase of wagons, hangars, depots, etc.

May 1829

The company managers ask Stephenson, Locke, Walker to Rastrick to inquire amongst the different railroads across the country as to the merits of locomotives versus fixed machines.
In order to validate their choice between different modes of traction, the managers of the Liverpool & Manchester Company decide to organize a competition between locomotives with a £500 prize for the winner.

6 October 1829

In front of a crow of 10,000 people, the locomotive "The Rocket" (built by George and Robert Stephenson) wins the Rainhill race beating "Sans Pareil" built by Timothy Hackworth and "Novelty" of Braithwaite and John Ericson.
The race is held on a 1.5 mile long stretch on which each locomotive has to accomplish 10 return trips for a total journey of 30 miles. "The Rocket" achieves hits in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

15 September 1830

Inauguration of the line n the presence of the prime minister, the Duke of Wellington, and a large number of dignitaries who take part in the procession of 8 locomotives ["The Northumbrian" — conducted by George Stephenson, "The Phoenix" — conducted by Robert Stephenson, "The Rocket" — conducted by Joseph Locke, "The Conet" — conducted by Allcard, "The Dart" — conducted by Thomas Gooch, "The Arrow" — conducted by Frederick Swanwick]. Popular Liverpool member of parliament William Huskisson is killed after stepping in front of a train.
During the first three months are transportet:

  • 71,951 passengers
  • 1,432 tons of merchandise
  • 2,630 tons of coal
with a net profit of £14,432 which allows to pay a dividend of £2 per stock of £100.

February 1831

The Samson locomotive pulls a convoy of 164 tonnes in 2 hours and a half from Liverpool to Manchester.


Henry Booth publishes the first regulatory documents for the railroad line difining the colors of the signals.
A special train with the Duke of Orléans aboard travels at 38 miles per hour.


After a conductor's strike the company guarantees a minimum wage.


The trip takes 1 and a quarter of an hour.

19 January 1841

He organizes a conference of the presidents and managers of railroads.

Relevant Web Sites

Relevant Publications

  • About this
    data sheet
  • Structure-ID
  • Published on:
  • Last updated on: