Timothy Hackworth (1786-1850)

Timothy Hackworth was one of the premier pioneer engineers of the early steam railway locomotive. At the age of 14 Hackworth began training under his father at the Wylam Colliery and took a keen interest in locomotive design and construction. In 1824 he supervised the engineering works of Robert Stephenson & Co. in Newcastle while George worked on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway and Robert in South America.

The Stockton & Darlington Railway appointed Hackworth to take charge of their locomotives and machinery in 1825 and he established his new headquarters at New Shildon. At Shildon in 1826 he built the first six-coupled locomotive, Royal George. For the Rainhill Trials of 1829 he built an 0-4-0 locomotive called Sanpareil, which performed well until a casting failed; this had been produced by the Stephenson Company whose Rocket went on to win the test.

In 1836 Hackworth built a 2-2-2 locomotive for export to Russia and his son John took the locomotive to Russia personally. In 1838 he built three locomotives for export to the Albion Mines in Canada, one of which is preserved in the Nova Scotia Museum of Industry.

Hackworth took an active interest in the welfare of his employees at New Shildon and was very active in the Methodist movement. Timothy Hackworth died aged 63 at New Shildon on 7 July 1850.