Daniel Gooch

Daniel Gooch

Engineer Less

Daniel Gooch

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Sir Daniel Gooch, 1st Baronet (24 August 1816 – 15 October 1889) was an English railway and transatlantic cable engineer and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1865 to 1885. He was the first Superintendent of Locomotive Engines on the Great Western Railway from 1837 to 1864 and its Chairman from 1865 to 1889.

Early life

Gooch was born in Bedlington, Northumberland, the son of John Gooch, an ironfounder, and his wife Anna Longridge. He trained in engineering with a variety of companies, including a period with Robert Stephenson and Company, but was aged 21 when recruited by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Great Western Railway, under the title "Superintendent of Locomotive Engines", taking office on 18 August 1837.

Railway engineer

Gooch's earliest days with the company were a struggle to keep the miscellaneous collection of broad gauge steam locomotives ordered by Brunel working. Taking the best of these, the GWR Star Class (on which he and Brunel had improved the blastpipe arrangement) as a model, he designed the GWR Firefly Class of 2-2-2 express passenger locomotives introduced in 1840. In comparative trials by the Gauge Commissioners, Ixion of this class proved capable of speeds greater than its standard gauge challenger. In 1843 Gooch introduced a new form of locomotive valve gear.

In 1840, Gooch was responsible for identifying the site of Swindon Works and in 1846 for designing the...
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