Growing up in the shadow of an increasingly famous father like George Stephenson must have been an intense experience for son Robert.
Robert was the only son of an only parent, and George was a man who had forged ahead in life through determination, force of character and talent in the fledgling locomotive field.
But, like father like son. When Robert died in 1859, aged 55, he was hailed as the greatest engineer of his century.
He was buried in Westminster Abbey and most of those who attended his funeral would have travelled by train on a system Robert had done most to create.
In this new book, whose publication was backed by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, Victoria Haworth, who lives in Robert's former home in Greensfield Place in Newcastle, tells the story of the boy and man.
It begins with George Stephenson marrying Frances Henderson in 1802.
Robert was born in 1803 at their one-room home in Willington Quay in what is now North Tyneside.
Frances became pregnant again and George had taken a job at West Moor pit, so they moved to the rural parish of Longbenton. But the couple's newborn daughter died, as did Frances a few months later from tuberculosis.
Robert grew up watching his father's absorption in all things mechanical.
He was sent to the Percy Street Academy in Newcastle where, with his homemade clothes and hob-nailed boots, he stood out among the other more affluent pupils.
Soon father and son were working as a team. In 1823 they set up their engine factory in South Street in Newcastle and at 19 Robert was managing partner of Robert Stephenson and Co.
Early in the next year, Robert was in London for hearings of the Stockton and
Darlington Railway Bill when he met his future bride Frances Sanderson.
But by that summer he was off to Colombia in South America for three years, leading a project to reopen silver mines.
On his return, he married Frances and they moved to Greensfield Place in Newcastle, 10 minutes walk from the factory but close to the Town Moor where Robert could exercise his horse and dog.
It was here that Robert began his design work on the Rocket locomotive.
He then became engineer in chief for the London-Birmingham railway.
In 1842 Frances died. Robert's working life went on - about a third of today's railway network is down to him.
In 1850 a dinner was held on the platform of the new Central Station in Newcastle to mark the completion of a continuous line from London to Berwick under Robert's direction.
He was responsible for structures along the way such as the High Level Bridge, the Dean Street Viaduct in Newcastle, the Royal Border Bridge over the River Tweed and the Victoria Viaduct over the River Wear. There were other bridges, such as the Britannia over the Menai Straits in Wales and across the St Lawrence in Canada.
The Canada trip was sandwiched between journeys to Egypt.
On Christmas Day in 1858 Robert dined in Cairo with that other 19th Century engineering great, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Neither had long to live. Brunel died on September 15, 1859, of Bright's Disease. Robert Stephenson had fallen ill with jaundice and on October 12 he also died. Victoria says: "Did he burn himself out? He was a workaholic and there was tremendous tension in the work he was doing." He was buried in the nave of Westminster Abbey.
From Willington Quay to Westminster Abbey. It had been an illustrious journey.