Trevithick steam engine in action today

A six tonne conjectural replica of the first steam engine in the world to haul a load on iron rails has pride of place in Wales’ National Waterfront Museum at Swansea.

It’s a massive machine made in iron back in 1981 using the steam locomotive plans and designs of engineering pioneer Richard Trevithick.

Picture shows the replica of Trevithick's 1804 Penydarren Locomotive in main heavy industry gallery at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

The working replica of Trevithick’s 1804 Penydarren Locomotive is on public display at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea

The replica has been run under steam first in Cardiff Bay and more recently at the Waterfront Museum at intervals ever since.

When it’s in motion it’s a great sight – trundling along a four foot wide near standard guage length of track outside the modern quay side museum building.

Here’s a link to a video of the Penydarren locomotive of 1804 in action.

On 21st February 1804 the Trevithick designed and built locomotive – basically one of his innovative high pressure steam engine laid on its side with wheels attached – steamed out of the Penydarren ironworks in Merthyr Tydfil pulling five wagons with a load of 10 tonnes of iron. Also aboard were 70 passengers.

Engine and train steamed for nine and a half miles along the flanged iron rails of the Merthyr tramroad to Abercynon – reaching speeds of over four miles per hour but having to make a number of stops because of overhanging trees and a low tunnel.

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