NYSSPE’s Engineer of the week features George Stephenson who was born on June 9, 1781 in Wylam, Northumberland, England. He was a civil and mechanical engineer known for building the first public intercity railway line in the world to use steam locomotives. This railway is known as the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and opened in 1830.
In his earlier years, Stephenson designed his first locomotive. It had a traveling engine designed for hauling coal. Victorians were very fond of Stephenson and considered him a diligent worker with a thirst for improvement. His own development of a rail gauge of 4 feet 8.5 inches is often referred to as the “Stephenson gauge” and is a standard unit for most railways.
In his later years, Stephenson was well-known for his many successful projects and accomplishments. He became the first president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1847. After his death, he was still honored in the Chesterfield Museum with a gallery of memorabilia. Also, George Stephenson College was founded in 2001 on the University of Durham’s Queen’s Campus in an English market town called Stockton-on-Tees.