In 1825 the Stephenson's built "Locomotion No.1" for the Stockton and Darlington Railway, it's place in history assured as the first locomotive to run on the world's first public steam railway. George Stephenson drove the engine on the opening day, covering the nine mile journey in two hours - on the way back he got carried away and speed crept up to a giddy 15mph, whereupon one passenger fell off.
Effectively a pair of beam engines, with their cylinders half-buried in the boiler, it was one of the last "prehistoric" engines, an evolutionary dead-end before the "Rocket" won the Rainhill Trials in 1829 and effectively laid down a blueprint for the steam engine which was continuously developed for the next 120 years. "Locomotion" had a short and not terribly happy career after the opening of the S&D. In 1828 the boiler exploded, killing her driver, she was rebuilt and ran until 1841, retiring thereafter for stationary pumping duties. Given the historic value, the engine survived and is now at Darlington Railway Museum, a full-sized replica runs at Beamish Museum.
This is a superbly built 7 1/4 inch gauge model of "Locomotion", built using Greenly's drawings of 1927, made from a close study of the original engine at Darlington. The builder produced his own patterns and, with the exception of the driving wheels, the castings as well. He acquired the drawings to build the model but, in his own words, having seen "the great multitude of rods and linkages" put them aside for twenty years whilst building a series of other engines (see the news page this month for more details of the man and his models). Having finally steeled himself to the task, he set to, starting with the tender (his custom with all the locomotives he builds) and progressing through to the locomotive. Detail work is super, from the finely rivetted bucket hung on the back of the tender to the hand made square nuts used throughout the engine.
Once complete, the engine was steamed once, using a gas burner, before being mounted on the plinth you see for display. It is slightly raised from the prototypical rail, a detachable handle allows the wheels to be turned over, which provides a mesmeric demonstration of the motionwork.
The engine has been exhibited on a number of occasions. For further information about the builder and his other engines, see this month's news page.
Locomotive 19 inches
Tender 17 inches
|gauge||7 1/4 inch|