The Lancashire Witch
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Robert Stephenson and Company in Newcastle built the locomotive, a development of George Stephenson and Timothy Hackworth’s Locomotion No. 1 that they built for the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1825. Originally destined for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway when it was known as the Liverpool Travelling-engine, it was transferred to the Bolton and Leigh Railway The Bolton and Leigh Railway (B&LR), Lancashire's first public railway, was promoted as a mineral line in connection with William Hulton's coal pits to the west of his estate at Over Hulton.   (B&LR) which was nearer completion. At the opening ceremony it was named the Lancashire Witch.[1]


The 0-4-0 locomotive had 4 feet diameter wheels with wooden spokes and iron tyres that were driven directly by the pistons. Both axles had springs above the bearings inside the wheels. Its 9 inch by 24 inch cylinders and piston-rods were connected to the front wheels by rods. The cylinders on either side of the boiler were inclined at about 45 degrees. [2]

The 9 feet long and 4 feet diameter boiler contained two flues which joined together to make the chimney. tand a total heating surface of 66 square feet and a grate area of 12 square feet. The exhaust passed into the chimney to which a forced draught was applied by bellows worked by excentrics under the tender.
The engine burned coke burn coke to reduce the amount of smoke produced. The locomotive weighed seven tons and could pull a load of 40 tons up an incline of 1 in 440 at 8 mph.[2]

Bolton and Leigh Railway

The engine, known as the Liverpool Travelling-engine, was originally destined for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway whose directors agreed for it to be transferred to the Bolton and Leigh Railway in 1828. It was used to pull the B&LR’s inaugural train when Lancashire’s first public railway opened on 1 August 1828.[1]

At the ceremony Mrs Hulton, wife of the B&LR chairman, hung a garland of flowers on the chimney before declaring , “No one can observe without admiration this beautiful engine, I therefore beg leave to name it after an object universally attractive – The Lancashire Witch.[1]



Contributor. (n.d.). Robert Stephenson and Co: Lancashire Witch. Grace’s Guide.
Rolt, L. T. C. (1960). George and Robert Stephenson The Railway Revolution (Penguin). Longman.