The only son of the famous railway engineer George Stephenson, he was born at Willington Quay in the vicinity of Newcastle, on the river Tyne. While still very young he began to collaborate with his father on the project for the Stockton-Darlington, the first railway line for steam-driven locomotives, which was inaugurated in 1825. It was in this perspective that, in 1823, Robert Stephenson founded, together with his father and Edward Pease, the "Robert Stephenson & Company" firm. In 1827 he devoted himself to the creation of the Rocket, considered the first "modern" locomotive. In 1833 he was appointed head engineer of the London-Birmingham line, while in 1838 he was summoned to Tuscany by Emanuele Fenzi and Pietro Senn to direct the works for the Leopolda railway. The success attained in this first Tuscan experiment in railways led the Russian princes Anatolio Demidoff and Giuseppe Poniatowski to commission Stephenson to construct a railway to Forlž, passing through the Muraglione Pass. Although this railway was not built, it was to all effects the first project for what was to become, almost forty years later, the Faentina railway. A member of the Royal Society, Stephenson also distinguished himself in the construction of bridges, such as the High Level Bridge at Newcastle (1846-1849). Elected a conservative Member of the House for the town of Whitby in 1847, he kept this position until the day of his death, which took place in London on October 12, 1859. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Last update 13/feb/2008