On this day in 1804, Richard Trevithick – the Cornish inventor and engineer – wrote this about the historic journey made by his Penydarren steam locomotive hauling five wagons along the 9 miles of the Merthyr Tramroad.
“Yesterday we proceeded on our journey with the engine; we carry’d ten tons of Iron, five waggons, and 70 Men riding on them the whole of the journey.
“Its above 9 miles which we perform’d in 4 hours & 5 mints, but we had to cut down som trees and remove some Large rocks out of the road. The engine, while working, went nearly 5 miles pr hour, there was no water put into the boiler from the time we started untill we arriv’d at our journey’s end. The coal consumed was 2 Hund’d.
“On our return home abt 4 miles from the shipping place of the iron, one of the small bolts that fastened the axel to the boiler broak, and let all the water out of the boiler, which prevented the engine returning untill this evening.”
This account was later published by Trevithick’s son in his biography of his father.