Catch Me Who Can

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Drawing of the locomotive Catch Me Who Can, from a card or admission ticket to Trevithick's "Steam Circus", summer 1808

Catch Me Who Can was the fourth and last steam railway locomotive created by Richard Trevithick, (after those at Coalbrookdale, Penydarren ironworks and Wylam colliery). Built in 1808 by Rastrick and Hazledine at their foundry in Bridgnorth, England, it was demonstrated to the public at a "steam circus" organized by Trevithick on a circular track in Bloomsbury, just south of the present-day Euston Square tube station in London.


Replica of the Catch Me Who Can during a 2014 exhibition in the Netherlands Railway Museum.
Contemporary (disputed) illustration of the steam circus in London, where Catch Me Who Can ran for just a few weeks.

The locomotive reached a top speed of 12 mph (19 km/h). It proved too heavy for the relatively brittle cast-iron rails then in use, and Trevithick closed his exhibition after a broken rail caused a derailment.


The mechanical arrangement of Catch Me Who Can was simpler than the previous locomotives. The horizontal cylinder, flywheel, and geared drive were replaced by a vertical cylinder, still encased within the boiler. This cylinder drove one pair of wheels directly by means of connecting rods. The boiler was Trevithick's usual return-flue type, with an internal firebox.


A replica is under construction by the Trevithick 200 charity at the Severn Valley Railway workshops, close to the site where the original locomotive was built. As of November 2016 work towards completion of the engine continues with only the braking mechanism left to complete. The replica engine can be seen outside near to the entrance of the Severn Valley Railway at Bridgnorth station[1]

See also[edit]

History of rail transport in Great Britain to 1830


External links[edit]