‘Billy’ – built in Killingworth, around 1816 before the more famous Rocket – is the third oldest surviving locomotive in the world and the oldest surviving Stephenson locomotive. It worked on the Springwell & Jarrow line, which brought coal to the Tyne from collieries south of Gateshead. Designed by George Stephenson, this was one of the most innovative transport systems of its day.
Early locomotives like Billy were called ‘travelling engines’ because they were mobile versions of the steam engines used at mines. George Stephenson built his first locomotive in 1814 at West Moor, near Killingworth, where he was a colliery engineer. Billy was one of the last of the type to be built.
It was in use for more than 50 years, and many parts were replaced or altered. A section of the line where Billy worked is preserved as the Bowes Railway at Springwell Village near Washington, Tyne and Wear
Source: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums