Daniel Gooch was born in Bedlington, Northumberland, on 24th August, 1816. Gooch met George Stephenson when only a young boy and as soon as he was old enough he became an engineer at the the locomotive factory owned by Edward Pease and Robert Stephenson in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Gooch then found work in the foundry at the Tredegar Ironworks in South Wales, but at the age of twenty-one, he was appointed locomotive superintendent of the Great Western Railway. Gooch took advantage of the broad gauge adopted by Isambard Brunel, the chief engineer at the company. His locomotives travelled at much faster speeds than those made previously. Gooch's locomotives could haul a large load at 60 mph (96 kph). In all, Gooch designed 340 locomotives, including the Iron Duke and the Great Western.
Daniel Gooch worked for the Great Western Railway for twenty-seven years but in 1864 he resigned to concentrate on developing telegraphic communication. Gooch was appointed chairman of the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company and director of the Anglo-American Company.
In the 1865 General Election Daniel Gooch was elected as MP for Cricklade. Later that year, when the Great Western Company got into financial difficulties, Gooch agreed to return as chairman. Gooch successfully turned the company back into a profitable organisation. As chairman of the company her fully supported Brunel's proposal to build the steamship, the Great Western.
Gooch served as MP for Cricklade until 1885. After leaving the House of Commons he continued as chairman of the Great Western Company and in 1886 was responsible for the Severn Tunnel project. Daniel Gooch died at Clewer Park, Berkshire on 15th October, 1889. He is buried in St. Andrews Church, Clewer, near Windsor.