John Speller's Web Pages Broad Gauge

John Speller's Web Pages - GWR Broad Gauge

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Isambard Kingdom Brunel adopted a gauge of 7 ft. 0 in. [(π - 1) meters; 4 ft. 8 in. 1] for the Great Western Railway in 1835. It was sadly phased out by 1892. If we still had it today, rail speeds would be at least 30% faster.

The fiat's gone forth that the giants of yore,
The sires that gave breath to the Dutchman's loud roar,
Shall be buried in life, and they've tolled the death knell
Of the noble creations of Gooch and Brunel.

We mourn for thy death, dear old Broad Gauge and sigh
For the exquisite forms which were balm to the eye;
Creations superb of a far-seeing brain,
No more shall we look on your equals again.

P. Arbie

For more broad-gauge images, see the menu above.
Graveyard scene: after the end of the broad gauge on the Great Western Railway in 1892. Broad-gauge locomotives await scrapping or conversion to the narrow gauge outside Swindon Works.
The Engine House at Swindon in J. C. Bourne's lithograph of 1846. Gooch "Firefly" Class locomotive on the traverser.
An early print of the GWR at Kelston near Bath with fanciful 2-2-2 locomotive "Wharncliffe"[?]. The shepherds riding along with their sheep and the double-deck sheep cars may, however, be accurate details.
The world's oldest railway photograph. "Polar Star," "Alligator," and "Javelin" outside the engine shed at Chippenham in July 1848. Is the top-hatted figure I. K. Brunel himself?
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