Oil painting. A largely self-educated man, Stephenson's (1781-1848) early working life was spent as a brakesman and in collieries maintaining stationary engines. His mechanical mind was noticed by his employers, and by 1812 he was an engine-wright earning 100 pounds a year. In 1813 he was commisioned to design his first steam locomotive, 'Blucher', for the Killingworth Colliery in Tyne and Wear. Later, he became the engineer for the Stockton & Darlington Railway (opened in 1825), and the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (opened in 1829). He advised on the construction of many of the English railways and the Belgian State Railway (1835), hence his nickname 'the father of railways'.
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