A video accompanying a post is being widely shared on social media claiming that it shows the World’s first train that ran on 24 December 1809. Let us fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Video of World’s first train which ran on 24 December 1809.
Fact: This Video is actually from a silent movie ‘Our Hospitality’ (1923) which is a period comedy, set in the 1830s. The movie includes Keaton’s extended journey on a vintage train from that era. The first steam locomotive put on rails was on 21 February 1804 by Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) and, Stockton and Darlington Railway was the first public passenger steam train which ran on 27 September 1825. It is also quite improbable that a video/film were taken in 1809, because the first film was shot in Leeds in 1888. Hence the claim made in the post is FALSE.
When reverse image search was done on the screenshots of the video, a blog published on 11 April 2018 was found. The caption in one of the images that matches the screenshots of the video is read as ‘The replica of Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ locomotive, piloted by Buster’s father Joe Keaton in ‘Our Hospitality.’ According to the Blog, ‘Our Hospitality,’ (1923) a period comedy set in the 1830s, tells the story of a young man (Buster Keaton) raised in New York City but unknowingly at the centre of a long-running backwoods family feud, highlights of the picture include Keaton’s extended journey on a vintage train of the era. According to another blog, Our Hospitality (1923) was the first of Buster Keaton’s 1920s silent comedy masterpieces; images in this blog and the screenshots of the video match each other.
Taking cue from the blog articles that this could be a scene from the movie ‘Our Hospitality’ (1923), we searched for the movie and found a YouTube video uploaded by a channel named ‘trelosfilosofos’. The video is titled, ‘Buster Keaton – Our Hospitality 1923 (Full Movie)’. It can be seen from the video that some parts of the movie have been edited to make the video and all the visuals have been picked up from the movie.
Richard Trevithick (1771-1833), was the man who first put steam engines on rails. On 21 February 1804, Trevithick’s pioneering engine hauled 10 tons of iron and 70 men nearly 10 miles from Penydarren, at a speed of 5 miles-per-hour, according to this article. Stockton and Darlington Railway in England was the first public passenger steam train which ran on 27 September 1825 from Darlington to Stockton, according to articles that can be found here and here. The replica shown in ‘Our Hospitality’ was an 1830 George Stephenson’s locomotive named ‘Rocket’. Therefore, it is not possible for world’s first train to have been started in 1809.
It is also quite improbable that a video/film was taken in 1809, because the first film was actually shot in Leeds in 1888 by Louis Le Prince, according to this BBC article. According to Guiness World Records, the earliest surviving film (sensitized 53.9mm (21/8in) wide paper roll) is from the camera of Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince (UK), who filmed in early October 1888 the garden of his father-in-law, Joseph Whitley in Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK at 10 to 12 frames per second.
To sum it up, edited clip from a movie is wrongly shared as the video of world’s first train.