Stephen was built in 1829 by Robert Stephenson for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. When Stephen was built, steam engines were new and experimental, with horses and carts then pulling most railway traffic. In October he, along with 4 other engines, took part in the Ranhill Trials, a competition to decide who would make the LMR's locomotives. Stephen was the only engine to compete the Trails and as such won, and his designer won the locomotive contract. He was part of the Railways grand opening the following year, which was attended by important people of the time, including the 1st Duke of Wellington, the then Prime Minister, and John Henry Norramby, future Earl of Sodor. On the day he was involved in a tragic accident. Not long later he was heavily modified, resembling some of his designer's later designs. He was sold by the LMR in 1836.
Between 1836 and 1840 he worked on the Brampton Railway, which served a colliery. He also worked at the Docks. He spent the next twenty-two years located at the hamlet of Tindale. In 1862 his owner tried to donate him to the London Science Museum but, for unknown reasons, the museum declined. He was instead bought by John Arnold Norramby, who remembered seeing him as a child. The future Earl initially wanted to display Stephen on his estate but nothing came of the idea. Instead, he was placed in storage on the Mainland for more than a century, though Lord John and his descendents commonly visited him.
In 1973, Sir Robert Norramby returned to Sodor after travelling the world, bringing Stephen with him. The Earl had him restored at the Crovan's Gate Steamworks so he could be a tour guide at Ulfstead Castlle. The Earl wanted this to be a surprise for him and so didn't tell him. Stephen, eager to get back to work, set out on a quest to find his new job, after being informed by Thomas . He eventually got lost in Ulfstead Mine where he managed to find King Godred's Golden Crown, an important part of the Earl's plan. He was found and rescued by Thomas and repaired in time for Ulfstead Castle's grand opening. Two years later, while taking a tour around the Island, he saved Gordon and the Express from having a tragic accident when the Sodor Suspension Bridge partially collapsed. He was praised as a Hero.
Stephen is a jolly old engine with a positive attitude and a good sense of humour. He is a good-hearted and quick-witted engine, and will not take any nonsense from engines like Spencer or Diesel. Many of the smaller, younger engines look up to him for advice, and he is always willing to get the job done.
Stephen is painted golden yellow and black. He bears a gold nameplate reading "Rocket". His funnel is painted white with a gold finial and his domes, whistle, exhaust pipes and boiler bands are bronze. He has the Earl's crest painted on his tender.
- His name comes from his builder, Robert Stephenson.
- He has a lucky horse shoe resting on his exhaust pipe, which he once lent to Percy.
- There are numerous replicas of him.
|Millie • Stephen • Glynn • Neil • Ernest|
|Lillian • Estate Railway Coaches|