Plaque Recognises Rainhill as Birthplace of Britain’s Railway

By on Monday, September 19, 2016

Leading engineers from the UK and US converged on Rainhill Library for a ceremony that reaffirmed the village’s status as the birthplace of the railway.


Rainhill was the site of the 1829 Rainhill Trials – won by George Stephenson and his Rocket locomotive. The contest led to the opening of the world’s first public railway the following year between Liverpool and Manchester.

To commemorate the event, the library hosts a permanent Trials exhibit – staged in a British Railways Mark 1 carriage within its grounds.

Recently, however, the Liverpool to Manchester line was celebrated by the British Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, as well as their companion organisations from the USA – the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Members of the Rainhill Railway and Heritage Society, Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and American Society of Civil Engineers unveiled a plaque at Rainhill Library that sees the line – with a route substantially unaltered since its construction – take its place alongside some of the world’s most iconic structures.

The Eiffel Tower and the Brooklyn Bridge are among the select group to gain the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Historical Civil Engineering Landmark status.

The Historical Civil Engineering Landmark plaque was unveiled at Rainhill Library for temporary display before being moved to a permanent home at Rainhill Station early next year.


“Our thanks go to the sponsoring organisations for this important recognition of the significance of Rainhill in the history of transport and engineering,” said Derek Houghton, Chairman of Rainhill Railway and Heritage Society (pictured left).

“It emphasises the place in history of Rainhill and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, and supports our ambition to see the line become a World Heritage site. The society, in conjunction with Rainhill Parish Council, is working towards a major celebration of the 190th anniversary of the Trials, to be held in 2019.”

Pictured above are (L-R): Derek Houghton (Rainhill Railway and Heritage Society), Tim Broyd (President Elect of the Institute of Civil Engineers), Stuart Cameron (Institution of Mechanical Engineers), Larry Lee (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and Jerry Rogers (American Society of Civil Engineers).

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