Early steam locomotive
The Lancashire Witch
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 RailwayLancashire's first public railway, 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-foot diameter wheels with wooden spokes and iron tyres 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-foot long and 4-foot diameter boiler contained two flues, joined to make the chimney. It had a total heating surface of 66 square feet and a grate area of 12 square feet. The exhaust passed into the chimney, into which a forced draught was applied by bellows worked by eccentrics under the tender.
The engine burned coke to reduce the amount of smoke produced. The locomotive weighed 7 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 its transfer 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. “Robert Stephenson and Co: Lancashire Witch.” Grace’s Guide, https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Robert_Stephenson_and_Co:_Lancashire_Witch.
Rolt, L. T. C. George and Robert Stephenson The Railway Revolution. Penguin, Longman, 1960.