Great Western Railway
GWR Locomotives, History, Broad Gauge, Carriages and Wagons
The first operations of the Great Western Railway (GWR) commenced in 1838 with the opening of the initial section of the main line from London Paddington to Bristol; the line was fully opened in 1841. From these origins the company grew its services to cover lines from London to the west and south-west, the Midlands and Wales. The GWR amalgamated smaller companies into its network during the nineteenth century and became on of the ‘Big Four’ companies at the 1923 Grouping.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the first engineer of the GWR and he initially adopted the 7ft. ¼ in. broad gauge whereas other companies used the standard gauge of 4ft. 8½ in. for their lines. The period of forced train changes for the different gauges and mixed gauge lines finally ended with the operation of the last broad gauge train in May 1892.
Locomotives and rolling stock were built at the company workshops in Swindon under the direction of locomotive superintendants and mechanical engineers including Daniel Gooch, William Dean, George Jackson Churchward, Charles Collett and Frederick Hawksworth. Churchward introduced the 4-4-0 County and City classes of which ‘City of Truro’ became the first steam locomotive to exceed 100mph in 1904. These were followed by the classic 4-6-0 Saint, Star, King, Castle and Hall classes.
In 1948 the long history of the company ended when it became part of the nationalised British Railways (BR).
All aspects of the GWR are covered in these category listings, either in total or through the sub-categories on the left of this page to focus on a specific area of interest. Click the book image for more details including the examples we have in stock.
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Locomotives of the Smaller Welsh Railways and of the Midland and South Western Junction Railway
Types, Building Dates, etc.
Register of locomotives; one of a series issued by the author during the 1940s.