TREVITHICK’S SECOND STEAM RAILWAY LOCOMOTIVE
Drawings by Julius de Waal

Here we have another locomotive design by Julius de Waal in New Zealand for the more advanced model engineer. It is of Trevithick’s second railway locomotive of 1805. The design is in  non-standard 10 inch gauge. But that is OK. It should make an excellent display model either static or running on a length of demo track. It should be easy enough to adapt the design to fit a standard 10 1/4 inch gauge track, should you be lucky enough to have access to one. Also experienced model engineers have the opportunity to adapt it to suit other gauges, standard or otherwise.

It was in  February 1804, Trevithick produced the world's first steam engine to run successfully on rails. The locomotive, with its single vertical cylinder, 8 foot flywheel and long piston-rod, managed to haul ten tons of iron, 70 passengers and five wagons from the ironworks at Penydarren to the Merthyr-Cardiff Canal. During the nine mile journey the Penydarren locomotive reached speeds of up to five miles an hour. Trevithick's locomotive employed the important principle of turning the exhaust steam up the chimney, so producing a draft which drew the hot gases from the fire more powerfully through the boiler. Steam was at high pressure.

Trevithick's Penydarren locomotive only made three journeys. Each time the seven-ton engine broke the cast iron rails. The iron works came to the conclusion that Trevithick's invention was unlikely to reduce transport costs and decided to abandon the project.

The second engine, was designed to be lighter (4.5tons) than the Penydarren locomotive in an attempt to avoid the problem with broken rails.

The 1805 loco was built to run on 5 foot gauge tracks. However, it was track that was also the downfall of this locomotive, which was built for the Wylam Colliery on Tyneside. Laid in 1748, the wooden track was laid for horse drawn wagons, but the Trevithick locomotive was too heavy for the wooden wagonway. Significantly, George Stephenson was impressed with the trials.

In 1808, Trevithick exhibited his third locomotive in London behind a tall fence with an admission fee of five shillings for a ride. It weighed 8 tons and pulled an open coach on a circular track at up to 12 mph. He described the engine as a “racing steam horse” called Catch-me-who-can.

Unfortunately, the engine ran off the tracks and overturned. As there had been few visitors the event was abandoned. Disheartened, Trevithick gave up steam work and turned to mining and tunnelling. He went to install water pumps in the silver mines in Peru, a post that came to an end after the revolution for independence led by Simon Bolivar. Robert Stephenson found Trevithick there, destitute, and helped him to return to England where he died in poverty in 1833.

Julius’ remaining drawings will be featured in the next issues of MEWS. Drawings are copyright but can be downloaded for personal use. Click on drawing to download.

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