Trevithick rail section

In 1802 Richard Trevithick built a high-pressure steam engine and, with assistance, mounted it on wheels. This experiment led to the first locomotive hauled railway journey just two years later in 1804 when Trevithick’s steam locomotive ran on the existing Penydarren (or Merthyr Tydfil) tramroad track between Penydarren and Abercynon – a journey length of over nine miles.

Trevithick’s engine was able to travel at five miles per hour and became the first steam engine to pull a load on the railway. The rails broke as a result of the weight of the engine which was estimated to be about 5 tonnes. The engine ran only as an experiment and afterwards transportation returned to horse drawn wagons.

Dimensions: 149 x 90 x 31mm

Material: Cast iron

Archive reference: IME/13/7/9

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