John Speller's Web Pages Bristol & Gloucester Railway

John Speller's Web Pages - Midland Railway (Broad Gauge)

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The Bristol & Gloucester Railway was authorized by an Act of 1 July 1839, and opened on 6 July 1844. The first train came off the rails half a mile short of Gloucester station, and though nobody was injured the company suffered the indignity of having its passengers complete their journey on foot. Though engineered on the 7' 0" broad gauge by I. K. Brunel, the Bristol & Gloucester Railway became part of the Midland Railway, which (with a guarantee of funds from the London & North Western Railway) outbid the Great Western Railway for it and the Birmingham & Gloucester Railway, so that the two companies became part of the Midland Railway under an Act of 3 August 1846. By the Act of 1846, another of 1848 by which the Midland was empowered to lay mixed gauge from Standish to Bristol, and the Midland Railway Amalgamation Act of 1863, the Great Western Railway had statutory running powers over the Bristol & Gloucester Railway between Bristol and Standish Junction, allowing it to run trains from Bristol to Gloucester. It is a curious fact that despite the inconvenience of the break of gauge the Midland Railway continued running the Bristol & Gloucester as a broad gauge line for a further ten years before converting it, and even purchased special locomotives and rolling stock in order to do so. A further connection was made with the Midland Railway at Yate, under an Act of 1896 which made improvements to the South Wales main line. After the construction of the Birmingham & North Warwickshire Railway, the Great Western was able to run trains in competition with the Midland Railway all the way from Bristol and Birmingham. However, though the Great Western tried to join the Bristol & Gloucester line at Yate, thereby hoping to save 11 miles worth of charges for using the line, the courts in 1907 ruled that the Great Western had no right under the 1896 Act to access the Midland at Yate and therefore had to pay running charges for the entire route from Bristol, even if they only came onto the line at Yate. Following nationalization the Midland's Mangotsfield line was closed and all trains from Bristol to Birmingham now use the Great Western route to Yate, and then the Midland route via Cheltenham Spa to Birmingham New Street.
Bristol & Gloucester Railway Broad Gauge Third Class Parliamentary Carriage, 1844. This provided only minimal compliance with the Railway Act by covering the passenger accommodation by means of a tarpaulin, similar to a tilt wagon
B&GR 2-2-2 No. 5 "Gloucester," built by Stothert & Slaughter in July 1844. Shown here at Barnstaple after being sold to the North Devon Railway in 1855
Map of the Bristol & Gloucester Railway
Midland Railway Broad Gauge Third Class Carriage 1848. Note the distinctive half-moon windows. A big improvement on the Bristol & Gloucester Third of 1844! They were sold to the Bristol & Exeter when the B&G broad gauge was abolished in 1854.
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