::Steam locomotive

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The 4-8-8-4 Union Pacific Big Boy was one of the largest steam locomotives ever built

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Drawing of a Great Western Railway King class locomotive

A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its pulling power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning combustible material—usually coal, wood, or oil—to produce steam in a boiler. The steam moves reciprocating pistons which are mechanically connected to the locomotive's main wheels (Drivers). Both fuel and water supplies are carried with the locomotive, either on the locomotive itself or in wagons (tenders) pulled behind. The first steam locomotive was made by Richard Trevithick on the 21st of Feb 1804, two years after the railway locomotive he made in 1802 or the road locomotive he made in 1801.

Steam locomotives were first developed in Great Britain during the early 19th century and dominated railway transport until the middle of the 20th century. From the early 1900s they were gradually superseded by electric and diesel locomotives.


Steam locomotive sections
Intro  Origins  Basic form  Fittings and appliances  Variations  Manufacture  Categorisation  Performance  The end of steam in general use  Revival  Steam locomotives in popular culture  See also  References  Further reading  External links  

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