'Puffing Billy' steam locomotive, 1813.
3 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 22cm

'Puffing Billy' steam locomotive, 1813.

© National Railway Museum / Science & Society Picture Library -- All rights reserved


Puffing Billy, with its sister locomotive 'Wylam Dilly', is the oldest surviving locomotive in the world. Designed and built by the inventor and colliery official William Hedley (1779-1843) in 1813 for use at Wylam Colliery, Northumberland, this was the first commercial steam locomotive. Using smooth wheels on smooth tracks, it hauled coal trucks 5 miles between Wylam and the staithes at Lemington, Newcastle, from 1813 to 1861. The Science Museum acquired Puffing Billy in 1862, after nearly fifty years of service.

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