SR466 Feature Highlight: UK vs US - which was first to 100mph?

Tornado may be the latest steam locomotive to join the 100mph club, but which was first - and from which country? Bryan Benn examines the data from Britain and America. 

City of Truro - one of the locomotives that lays claim to being the first to reach 100mph. MEL HOLLEY/SR

City of Truro - one of the locomotives that lays claim to being the first to reach 100mph. MEL HOLLEY/SR

This article is the result of considerable research years before the dates shown in my conclusions. Indeed, in some into one of the most controversial areas of steam locomotive performance, in an attempt to settle one question: which country was the first to achieve an authenticated 100mph?

My studies have covered Europe and North America in detail. From both those parts of the world came a significant number of claims for steam locomotives considered to have been the first to reach the magic three figures. Some claims are wildly inaccurate and not considered here. But one of those erroneous claims is covered, as the engine was subsequently preserved on the basis of its apparent exploits.

  • To read the full article, involving the seven front runners from both sides of the ‘Pond’, see pages 46-52 of the new issue.