• 3D model of the locomotive 'Speedwell' built for Thomas Prothero of Newport, coal merchant) c.1829

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This was the first locomotive built by Neath Abbey ironworks, and was built to a 4 feet 2 inches gauge. It was a 0-4-0 locomotive with vertical 10.5 in x 2 foot cylinders. The pistons worked through bell cranks through stirrup crossheads. An interesting feature was the heating of the feed water by passing it through a jacket around the exhaust pipe. A second bell crank locomotive was supplied to Prothero in the same year. Several other bell crank locomotives were built for different gauges. This design shows little similarity to any other builder at this time, although Sharp, Roberts & Co. of Manchester started to build locomotives in 1833 with vertical cylinders and bell crank drive. The 3D model was constructed at the National Library of Wales by using historic plans and a range of reference photographs. This work was assisted with a generous grant from the Friends of the National Libraries.

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