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WorldIdea Award

Richard Trevithick

According to trainhistory , World Idea introduces this character 

Richard Trevithick was born in 1771, in the coal lands of Carn Brea between Camborne and Redruth in Cornwall. Surrounded by mines, and educated from younger days to work with his father on a water pump engines, he soon formulated the vision of improving efficiency of mining and transporting precious coal that was powering Britain’s vast industry

Image:  wikimedia

To make such changes, he needed to make radical alteration of original steam engine designs that were made famous by James Watt in 1770s and adapt it to power locomotive that was moving. Such notions were immediately dismissed by his peers in the technical community around Cornwall, but he did not give up. After finding financial support from Samuel Homfray in the first few years of 1800s, Trevithick finally had the money to build the machine of his dreams and change the way coal industry worked forever. After using horses to pull carts of coal from the mines and over surface railways for several hundred years, it was not strange to see that majority of mine owners and technicians who supported this kind of coal transport looked negatively at the appearance of unreliable, big, inefficient and slow steam engines.

To prove his point, Richard Trevithick made a bet with his biggest rival ironmaster Richard Crashay. With 500 guineas on the line (small fortune in those days), Richard had to prove that his steam locomotive could successfully pull 10 tons of iron over along the 15 kilometer line of surface railways between towns of Penydarren and Abercynon. On the faithful day of 21 February 1804, Richard’s locomotive under the name of "Penydarren" successfully made her trip over the time of four hours and five minutes, carrying around 25 tons of iron, equipment and 70 people who rode the train.


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