and built by George Stephenson of the Liverpool
and Manchester railway in 1829, the Rocket
was the winner in the Rainhill trials—a
competition sponsored by the railway to obtain a
locomotive for carrying both passengers and
freight. It pulled a load of three times its own
weight at the rate of 20 km/hr (12.5 mph) and
hauled a coach filled with passengers at 39
km/hr (24 mph). When the road opened in 1831, it
employed eight of Stephenson's locomotives
is an Extract from "Lancashire Tales", by Frank
Hird, published by TC & EC Jack (c 1920)
The Driver of the First
driver of the first passenger train in England
[in the world] was a youth called Edward
Entwistle, who was born at Tyldesley Banks, near
Wigan, in 1815.
the age of eleven he was made an apprentice in
the large machine shops belonging to the
Bridgewater Trust in Manchester, his parents
having decided that he should be an engineer.
was in these works that the "Rocket",
the first passenger locomotive, was built under
the direction and according to the plans of its
inventor, George Stephenson.
Young Entwistle took the keenest interest
in the progress of the engine.
the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was
finished and the "Rocket" completed,
Stephenson looked about for a driver.
foreman of the shops was consulted, but after a
day or two reported that he had no man he could
suggest, but if the great inventor would take
the young apprentice Entwistle, he could
recommend him highly.
steward of the Trust, therefore, was applied to
and readily gave a written permission for the
youth to go with Stephenson. Entwistle, however, was only informed of his new labours
after all the arrangements had been made; but he
seized the opportunity gladly, and set to work
to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the
He was then only fifteen.
opening of the new railway, which attracted the
attention of the whole country, was fixed for
Monday, September 15, 1830.
On Sunday, Stephenson and young Entwistle
took the "Rocket" for a trial trip,
running over about one-half of the track.
following day both were on the engine which made
that historic journey from Liverpool to
Manchester, drawing behind it some of the most
distinguished people in the land, a journey
whose triumph was marred by the tragic accident
to Mr Huskission.
During the return journey from Manchester
the young apprentice's hand was on the throttle.
the line was opened for general traffic
Entwistle was given sole charge of the
"Rocket", and for two years made two
round trips every day between Liverpool and
Manchester, one in the morning and the other in
But the work was a serious strain on the
youth: he became ill and found he was losing his
therefore, asked to be relieved of his charge,
and was told by Stephenson that he was only an
apprentice and would have to stay where he was.
To this Entwistle replied that he had not
been apprenticed to a locomotive.
Stephenson admitted the point, and
through his kindness Entwistle secured a place
as second engineer on one of the coasting
steamers belonging to the Bridgewater Trust, on
which he completed his seven years'
apprenticeship, and remained a year afterwards.
he was twenty-two Entwistle emigrated to
America, but on landing in New York found that
times were so bad, business stagnant, and money
so scarce, that he could only earn a dollar a
day as an engineer on a steamer called the Troy,
which ran in the Hudson River and Long Island
was a man of much resource and ingenuity, for
when the Troy
was condemned and set them up in a rolling-mill
1844 he migrated to Chicago, and for some twelve
years was in charge of stationary engines in
that place, with the exception of one summer,
when he and a man called Perrier ran the Rossite,
which was one of the first steamers worked by
propellers on the lakes.
the next thirty-three years Entwistle had charge
of the engines of two great mills in the States
of Iowa; at
one of these, the Ankery Mills, he remained for
When he was seventy-four Entwistle
retired to a farm he had purchased forty years
before, and at the age of eighty-one it is
recorded of him that he had personally
superintended the construction of a new barn,
helping in the work himself.
was said to be energetic, quick of speech and
motion, and possessed of very decided opinions,
but his greatest pride - and a just pride - was
in having been the first man to drive a
passenger engine, and so inaugurate a method of
locomotion which revolutionised the world.
May 2003 - Kindly donated by by Phil
Entwistle from East Yorkshire - originally from