Fire Fly (1840)

The Fire Fly was built in 1840, designed by Daniel Gooch, the first locomotive superintendent of Brunel’s Great Western Railway. Brunel designed the GWR to be the best, and used 7-foot gauge track for extra stability, compared to the 4-foot 8 1/2 inch gauge everyone else used. With its 7-foot driving wheels, Flyfly class engines could reach 60 miles per hour; unprecidented for the time, although they provided very little protection for the crew. Imagine driving this at full speed in a winter rainstorm. In 1842, a Firefly class engine pulled the first Royal Train, taking Queen Victoria from Slough to London.

The original Fire Fly was withdrawn in 1870, and the whole GWR converted to standard gauge in 1892. At Didcot, the Firefly trust have built a faithful replica of the original, and once again you can ride behind a broad-gauge steam engine. Have you ever seen so much brass? Wonderful!