Our 'Killingworth Billy', the world's 3rd oldest surviving steam locomotive

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Illustrative talk by Dr Michael Bailey



Saturday 21 July

Visitor information


11.30am - 1pm

£6.50 per person (plus booking fee if booked online)

Tickets available on the door


Dr. Michael Bailey has recently published a report about the survey that he and his colleague Peter Davidson have carried out on SRM's star exhibit Billy. 

Through examining the sequence of re-buildings and the 'footprints' which have survived, the survey concludes that Billy was originally built in 1816 by George Stephenson, ten years earlier than previously thought. This therefore establishes Billy as the world's third oldest locomotive and the world's oldest surviving standard gauge (4 ft 8½ in) steam locomotive. The broad (5 ft) gauge Puffing Billy and Wylam Dilly locomotives are a couple of years older.

This talk also includes a summary of Killingworth Billy's life, whilst working at Killingworth Colliery and in preservation in Newcastle.   

Dr. Bailey is the President of the Stephenson Locomotive Society and a Past President of the Newcomen Society for the History of Engineering & Technology.  He is the author of several books and papers on early railways and locomotives, including Loco Motion - The World's Oldest Steam Locomotives, published in 2014.

This event is part of the Inspired By Great Exhibition of the North programme.