Thomas Hackworth (1797-1877) has been overlooked by history. He had both the fortune and misfortune to be the brother of a renowned railway engineer. His fortune lay in that he was party to some of the most famous early railway experiments. He was there at the birth of Puffing Billy and Wylam Dilly and built some of the first locomotives used on the Stockton and Darlington Railway. He was still building steam locomotives long after railways had become the dominant form of transport in the world. He was a major contributor to the growth of the north-east towns of both Shildon and Stockton-on-Tees, which would not be what they are without his acumen and engineering expertise. In respect of Stockton, he was also responsible for establishing one of the world's leading marine engineering companies. His misfortune was that his life was eclipsed by the fame and genius of an older brother. It was brother Timothy who once referred to Thomas Hackworth as 'Poor Tom' when Tom was made the scapegoat for a series of problems at Shildon. As a consequence Tom lost both job and home, was subsequently exploited by his business partner, and saw his young family was devastated by cholera.Despite this, he built a hundred steam locomotives, operated some of the earliest railways and produced engines that powered the first steam ships It is time for Tom Hackworth's story to be told.
Although the son and grandson of north-east railway men George Smith's working life was spent in the chemical industry and local government. He began writing about railways twenty years ago and has three previously published railway books to date along with numerous articles which have appeared in various national railway magazines. Always a railway enthusiast, his particular interest in the pioneering Victorian years was kindled during completion of a Post-graduate Certificate in Railway Studies at York. He is married with three grown up children and lives in Worcestershire.