Richard Trevithick 1802 Coalbrookdale Locomotive

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Richard Trevithick was a British inventor and mining engineer from mining heartland of Cornwall who was born in 1771.

He performed poorly in school, but went on to be an early pioneer of steam-powered road and rail transport. His most significant contribution was the development of the first high-pressure steam engine. He also built the first full-scale working railway steam locomotive.

The world’s first locomotive-hauled railway journey took place on 21 February 1804, when Trevithick’s unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Penydarren Ironworks, in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.

In 1802, Trevithick took out a patent for his high-pressure steam engine. To prove his ideas, he built a stationary engine at the Coalbrookdale Company’s works in Shropshire in 1802, forcing water to a measured height to measure the work done. The engine ran at forty piston strokes a minute, with an unprecedented boiler pressure of 145 psi.

In 1989, a team of apprentices at GKN Sankey of Telford began construction of the never-completed locomotive.  With the additional inclusion of a few safety additions, such as a trailing driver’s platform, it was launched into service at Blists Hill at Ironbridge in 1990.

The locomotive runs on a 3 foot gauge line but is included in this website because of its historical significance.

Replica Coalbrookdale working at Blists Hill – September 2012

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