Tag Archives: #early steam locomotive

Reading’s Rocket

Among the world’s oldest surviving locomotives is Reading’s Rocket. This was recently relocated from Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

It was named to honor of Robert Stepenson’s original Rocket of 1829—the locomotive that is the ancestor of most subsequent reciprocating steam locomotive designs.

Reading’s Rocket was built in England in 1838 by Braithwaite & Company and shipped across the Atlantic to the Port of Philadelphia and then by canal to Reading, Pa. It was first steamed in May of that year, and began working in passenger service in July 1838.

The locomotive later greatly altered from its original appearance and then subsequently restored to more or less its as built condition.

Thanks to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania for facilitating my photographs of this rare and antique machine.

Photos exposed using a Nikon Z7-II with 24-70mm Z-series zoom.

Typical of early locomotives, Rocket has inside connect rod connections and inside valve gear. This vital equipment—located between the wheels of the locomotive—is key to the engines operation, but goes largely unnoticed by most observers.

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