Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

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Mountain
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Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby Mountain » Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:24 am

If you ask what the first steam locomotive built to run on rails, there will be a few replies. I've heard replies from "The Flying Scotsman" ( :lol: ) to Stevensons "Rocket"... At least we are getting closer then the Flying Scotsman!
Then the more informed will come with a very warm answer (As the hotter or colder game goes!) and say Richard Travithicks locomotive which ran at Penydarren built in 1804. Very warm indeed but not quite at boiling point yet!
Firstly, this locomotive was being built in 1802 (Or earlier) and was ready and in location in 1803, but not actually tried on rails until 1804.
Secondly, this wasn't actually his first steam locomotive he made that was designed to run on rails. It was actually his second! So by the time he was set the challenge to build a steam locomotive to run at Penydarren in Wales, he already knew it was possible and accepted the challenge!
How many of you have seen in books a copy of the design of Travithicks locomotive? Was this the first or the second (Which ran in 1804?) It was actually designed to be much smaller the the others, for use in certain restricted industrial locations and does not look to be the same one which operated in Wales in 1804.

On similar lines of history... Many of you may have heard of the 1804 locomotive, and heard of the Rocket, but what about the others? How many were there? Stephenson himself had built many to various designs by the time he had built his famous "Rocket".
Well. I found out that such was the development of steam locomotives, that at one time when there were around 80 steam locomotives built around the world, and just over 60 of them were operating in Wales, and most of the rest were in England. The vast majority in Wales were in the south where the industrial revolution had already been in full swing for many years before steam traction had reached them, so already had a vast network of horse and people drawn industrial lines made with various technologies depending where. While plate ways were the most popular, a few actually were using edgeways before that! One used edgeways, converted to plateways and later back again to edgeways to trsake advantage of heavier steam locomotives. Wales also had a large network of canals and well used but in some places poor conditions roads.. (Hence why railways quickly became the most popular way to transport the large amounts of materials and goods that were needed to ports, which in turn sent things to customers right round the world).

Also of interest. One early locomotive builder saw Travithicks locomotive and then built his own designs sharing some ideas he had learnt, and Stevenson had seen these steam locomotives and started making his... So by the time the Rocket came along there were many locomotives out there.

It is surprising the information now on the internet, especially the great many documents. It is well worth a good look if you have the time!
Last edited by Mountain on Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Byegad
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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby Byegad » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:31 am

Locomotion Number 1 was running in 1825 at the opening of the Stockton-Darlington line. Not Stevenson's first but generally acknowledged as the first steam locomotive on the first public railway.

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby b308 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:03 am

Byegad wrote:Stevenson


Stephenson, please!! Stevenson was either a writer or builder of lighthouses dependent on which one you want! ;)


Any chance of a few links, Mountain, i was wondering where that figure of 80 came from?!

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Mountain
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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby Mountain » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:42 am

I think I've got dates wrong... Re reading one site which I have found states that the Neath Abbey iron works had made at least 50 locomotives by 1874. Can't yet find where I saw 80 locomotives. Will keep looking (Tablet needs a recharge) and see what sites I found the information on.
This is one of the sites I was really enjoying.
http://www.irsociety.co.uk
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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby Bigmet » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:55 am

Highly recommended to get an idea of what the earliest working steam locomotives were like, Beamish open air museum. They had their working Locomotion no 1 replica operating the last time I went, and it demonstrated very nicely what some ot the problems were for the crew. I'd love to see their 'steam elephant' replica going, but the engineeer in charge of the operation told me they were at that time having 'difficulties' keeping it on the rails...

There were any number of folk experimenting with 'steam locomotion' in the early 1800s, and we should not forget quite a number of them were in France and the USA: and the techniques that George Stephenson integrated into the 'winning format' first seen on his 'Rocket' came from many sources.

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby Byegad » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:00 am

b308 wrote:
Byegad wrote:Stevenson


Thanks for the correction b308. I'll be sure to tell my spell checker! :lol:

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby b308 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 11:40 am

Mountain wrote:I think I've got dates wrong... Re reading one site which I have found states that the Neath Abbey iron works had made at least 50 locomotives by 1874. Can't yet find where I saw 80 locomotives. Will keep looking (Tablet needs a recharge) and see what sites I found the information on.
This is one of the sites I was really enjoying.
http://www.irsociety.co.uk


Thanks for that! Here's a link to the Neath Abbey lot, started building locos from 1829...

https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Neath_Abb ... ocomotives

It can get confusing as there were a few "Works" that made steam engines but they were mostly stationary ones rather than locomotives (rail or road)... Interestingly the first steam locomotive wasn't on rails but a road loco, trouble was the roads of the time couldn't cope... Makes you wonder what would have happened if Tarmac had been invented 100 years earlier!

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Mountain
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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby Mountain » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:22 pm

Byegad wrote:Locomotion Number 1 was running in 1825 at the opening of the Stockton-Darlington line. Not Stevenson's first but generally acknowledged as the first steam locomotive on the first public railway.

Heard of "Catch me if you can" railway in 1808? Passengers were given rides on a small circular line in London for Travithicks to show one of his creations? Maybe a small steam driven line to carry passengers... :lol:
Also there is evidence which plainly suggests passenger carrying was frequent behind steam locomotives (Passengers paid the drivers to sit on or in waggons (Depends if full or empty of ore or other goods) dating back a decade before 1825.
Stockton and Darlington railway and Stevensons largest legacy has to be something much deeper then steam locomotion traction and even his amazingly speedy "Rocket". There was something else he did which set half the world a standard which has been adopted. It is what is known today as standard gauge. The importance of this can't be underestimated. There are almost u limited numbers of gauges used around the world as their own little, or sometimes big railway networks. Stevenson, by measuring horse carriages and taking an average useable width started something which enabled Britain to have a whole railway network which even the might of the what became Britain's largest company at one point, had to give in and adopt standard gauge even though its broad gauge was said to be superior and safer at high speeds.
Stevenson built (Or had built) a great many locomotives trying out many designs. He quickly learnt what worked well and what didnt. Hence when the trials were proposed,he just knew to go for a simple design which he knew was reliable and worked. Hence his masterpiece may not have been the most technically advanced at that time, but it ran rings round the competition during difficult testing trials. The Stockton and Darlington Railway (And the known worlds) eyes were on this event as no where in the past had such a comparison been made... And the S&D then had the choice made for them as in what designs to use etc and who got build them!
The first recorded passenger only railway (Though goods etc were carried) in Britain was the Swansea and Mumbles Railway. It wasn't steam powered at that time. It has been powered by horse, steam, wind (Sails were used as the line is near the sea so could make use of wind) and electric powered (Overhead) depending on what date one looked at the line.
A line which was early to carry passengers, but didnt have an act from parliament to do so, was the Llanelli and Mynydd Mawr which was planned in the late 1700's and fully opened by 1804. This was a horse drawn plate way and closed in around the 1830's to '40's and reopened with standard gauge edge rail around the 1860's to the 1990's where it became disused. It is now a cycle path.
The earliest railway lines which were used for a good 600 years we give credit to the Romans.
Plate ways were popular because the flat wheels on wagons could also be used on roads. So it hindered steam traction for a while due to weight restrictions on using iron plates. Though many locomotives were designed and did run on plate ways, when beefy edge rails were available most were converted or used as stationary engines for many other duties needed. (Nothing was put to waste!)
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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby luckymucklebackit » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:07 pm

The two oldest surviving Steam Locomotives are "Puffing Billy", currently in the Science Museum and "Wylam Dilly" which is in the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh, these locomotives date from 1813. One interesting factoid that links the early development of the British Railway system is that the Tranent to Cockenzie Waggonway which was opened in 1722 is the only piece of railway infrastructure on the UK to have featured in a land battle. It is mentioned in the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745 when the Government troops under Cope formed up along the course of the waggonway and were subsequently routed by the Jacobite forces of the Young Pretender, it is amazing to think that less than 50 years separated the Jacobite rising and the start of the steam age!

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby b308 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:47 pm

Mountain wrote:Heard of "Catch me if you can" railway in 1808? Passengers were given rides on a small circular line in London for Travithicks to show one of his creations? Maybe a small steam driven line to carry passengers... :lol:
Also there is evidence which plainly suggests passenger carrying )


"Catch me who can" was the demonstration loco, coach (open wagon!) and track so often shown in history books on railways...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch_Me_Who_Can

There was nothing unusual about early railways/tramways (at that time the descriptions are pretty much interchangeable) carrying passengers, whether loco/horse or gravity "powered". The narrow gauge slate railways were well known for it and on some you could even rent your own wagon which was taken up to the top of the line and after you'd had your day out you simply boarded it and rolled back home! (See the early Tom Rolt book on the Tallylyn for a description!)...

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby b308 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:53 pm

luckymucklebackit wrote:The two oldest surviving Steam Locomotives are "Puffing Billy", currently in the Science Museum and "Wylam Dilly" which is in the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh,


There are also several replicas knocking around, the Blists Hill Victorian Town in Ironbridge (where it all started!) has a replica of Trevithick's 1802 loco built originally by the Coalbrookdale Company (just up the valley) which has featured in many documentaries.

https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/events/fa ... -in-steam/

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby Mountain » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:56 am

b308 wrote:
Mountain wrote:Heard of "Catch me if you can" railway in 1808? Passengers were given rides on a small circular line in London for Travithicks to show one of his creations? Maybe a small steam driven line to carry passengers... :lol:
Also there is evidence which plainly suggests passenger carrying )


"Catch me who can" was the demonstration loco, coach (open wagon!) and track so often shown in history books on railways...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch_Me_Who_Can

There was nothing unusual about early railways/tramways (at that time the descriptions are pretty much interchangeable) carrying passengers, whether loco/horse or gravity "powered". The narrow gauge slate railways were well known for it and on some you could even rent your own wagon which was taken up to the top of the line and after you'd had your day out you simply boarded it and rolled back home! (See the early Tom Rolt book on the Tallylyn for a description!)...

I have some Tom Rolt books. I may have that one.
Enjoying 7mm narrow gauge.

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby D605Eagle » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:39 am

Bigmet wrote:Highly recommended to get an idea of what the earliest working steam locomotives were like, Beamish open air museum. They had their working Locomotion no 1 replica operating the last time I went, and it demonstrated very nicely what some ot the problems were for the crew. I'd love to see their 'steam elephant' replica going, but the engineer in charge of the operation told me they were at that time having 'difficulties' keeping it on the rails....

I saw it when it was quite new (It was the first new locomotive in the UK of the 21st century!!!!) The crew operating were really nice guys and were happy to chat about the engine. I hadn't heard about subsequent issues with it.
Last edited by D605Eagle on Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby D605Eagle » Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:40 am

duplicate post.

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Re: Steam Locomotives. The Pioneering Years.

Postby Mountain » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:10 am

Did they adopt the early idea of using a whistle as a safety device to alert the enginecrew to the boiler getting too low in water, or did they use the more modern method of a visible glass "Gauge"?
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