City of Truro (1903)

For a brief time in the summer of 1904, City of Truro was not only the fastest railway locomotive in the world, but the fastest vehicle of any kind. On a downhill stretch, hauling a mail train of about 148 tons from Plymouth to Bristol, she recorded an astounding speed of 102.3 mph. Although the official land speed record later that year finally exceeded 100mph, it would be another thirty years before another railway locomotive broke that barrier.

She represents the very pinnacle of Victorian steam power. Although she was designed the year after Queen Victoria’s death, the design is clearly the last of the previous era. Later locomotives had larger boilers, more driving wheels, external cylinders allowing more power, and more flowing lines. But in my view, she’s beautiful nonetheless.

These pictures are from City of Truro’s visit to Didcot in May 2007. Click for larger images.











City of Truro pulling a double header with Taff Vale Railway 0-6-2 No 85, which was built in 1899 to haul coal trains in south Wales.

Another very old locomotive: this Beattie 2-4-0 well-tank was designed in 1874 for working suburban trains out of London’s Waterloo station.


These pictures are from City of Truro’s visit to Didcot in May 2007. Click for larger images.