Invicta (locomotive)

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Invicta, Canterbury, 1970s flip.jpg
Invicta, plinthed at Canterbury in the 1970s
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer Robert Stephenson
Builder Robert Stephenson and Company
Build date 1829
Configuration 0-4-0
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver dia. 4 feet (1,219 mm)
Loco weight 6 long tons 5 cwt (14,000 lb or 6.4 t)
Boiler pressure 40 lbf/in2 (280 kPa)
Heating surface 192 square feet (17.8 m2)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 10 in × 18 in (254 mm × 457 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 1,275 lbf (5,670 N)
Operators Canterbury and Whitstable Railway
First run 30th May 1830
Withdrawn 1836
Current owner Canterbury Heritage Museum
Disposition Static display

Invicta is an early steam locomotive built by Robert Stephenson and Company in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1829. She was the twentieth locomotive built by Stephenson, being built immediately after Rocket.[1]


Invicta was built for £635[2] to work on the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway. She was named after the motto on the Flag of Kent, "Invicta", meaning undefeated. She was shipped by sea from Newcastle to Whitstable[2] and hauled the inaugural train into Whitstable Harbour station on 30th May 1830.[3] Contemporary illustrations show that Invicta was equipped with a single-axle tender, which has not survived.[4] Modifications were carried out in 1835 to try to improve the efficiency of the locomotive, as she was unable to cope even on the flattest section of the line out of Whitstable, but these were not successful.


Invicta was retired in 1836 as the stationary engines proved adequate to work the line. She was offered for sale in October 1839 but did not find a buyer and Invicta was put under cover.[3] She came into the ownership of the South Eastern Railway and was exhibited at the Golden Jubilee of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in 1875 and at the Newcastle Stephenson Centenary in 1881.[5]

Restoration started in 1892 and for many years Invicta was displayed in the Dane John Gardens, Canterbury. It wasn't until 1977 that a full restoration was undertaken, with help from the National Railway Museum. Invicta returned to Canterbury in time for the 150th anniversary of the Canterbury & Whitstable Railway on 3 May 1980.[2]

Invicta is owned by the Transport Trust and is currently on loan to and on display with Canterbury Heritage Museum, cosmetically restored. In November 2008, it was announced that a £41,000 Heritage Lottery Fund planning grant had been made to Canterbury City Council to develop a new museum at Whitstable to house Invicta and a stationary winding engine built at Robert Stephenson's works.[6] As of 2014, this had not been started.


  1. ^ "The South Eastern and Chatham Railway and the London , Chatham and Dover Railway Amalgamated 1899 LOCOMOTIVES: Their Description, History, distinctive features and interest". The Percy Whitlock Trust. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  2. ^ a b c "The world's first steam-hauled passenger railway". Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  3. ^ a b "The Past". The Crab and Winkle Line Trust. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  4. ^ Ellis, Chris; Morse, Greg (2010). Steaming through Britain. London: Conway. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-1-84486-121-7. 
  5. ^ "Canterbury & Whitstable Railway". Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  6. ^ "New Whitstable home for Invicta". Heritage Railway (118): 28. 27 November – 22 December 2008.