BGS New Site
Web Site - An Intro.
Welcome to our overhauled web site, which went live in Jan 2012.
The site is built from fairly up-to-date code, which should work with most computer screen sizes and browsers.
The site is evolving slowly, so there is more to come. Indexing of older Broadsheet magazine articles is now complete, so the Search facility should make it much faster to find detail on subjects previously written about.
You are welcome to make suggestions for improvements or new features, perhaps there's a particular Broadsheet article you think might be of appeal to our web audience; drop me a line...
Cheers for now - Rob Speare
New : Jan 2014
Several new items have been added to the 7mm scale model parts range. These include brass etches for the Mink body kit; and an etched kit for a six wheel B&E Oval Window coach.
New : Jan 2014
Curious about where the Broad Gauge network reached, and for how long ?
Please investigate our new page -
'Time Line Map', under the 'History' tab.
Info : on 8th June 2013
Our new BGS publication
Brunel's Atmospheric Railway,
was published. Copies still available.
Welcome to the BGS
Please use the Menu structure above to navigate your way around the site. Whether it is history, research, modelling or a further reading, we hope you will find the site informative, maybe inspiring !
Broad Gauge Society
- Events Calendar
See more details on the Events page.
This site is our window to the web, so if your first visit here, we invite you to investigate more. . . If you were unaware of Britain's 'broad gauge' railways, or the Society that actively researches, documents and models it today; perhaps we've already achieved something !
We hope you find the site interesting - if so, perhaps you may consider joining the Society; no special qualifications required.
The Membership subscription is quite reasonable, and will entitle you to receive our regular Journal and mailouts, expanding on information about this facinating period of railway operation.
I am keen to hear from model engineers who may be constructing, or have completed a live steam broad gauge loco.
Britain's Broad Gauge Railways.
In 1836, the fledgling Great Western Railway was laid to a gauge of 7 feet 0¼ inches, as directed by young engineer I. K. Brunel. A number of other new Companies adopted the specification, creating a network with a unique style and infrastructure that spread across much of South West England and S. Wales. This most creative period was part of the huge industrial revolution that transformed everyday life in England.
Early locomotives were typically wide bodied with fairly large spindly driving wheels, most often sporting polished brasswork on the splashers and firebox cladding. And their train crews needed to be hardy - with barely a small weatherboard as protection from the elements, as in this photograph of 0-6-0 Caesar class locomotive 'Nemesis', photographed at Trowbridge in Wiltshire.
This period saw the creation of locomotive and signalling technologies that were to shape railways for the next 100 years, along with engaging architecture, some of which we can still view.
Many independant railways were absorbed into the larger Great Western Railway; but the Broad Gauge routes remained the most comfortable way to travel; a definitively superior and elegant passenger railway system, with creative transport solutions for goods, lasting over fifty years.
Its supercession came in May 1892, with conversion of all G.W.R. lines to narrow gauge, and the withdrawal of most rolling stock.
The Broad Gauge Railway was part of a fascinating period of optimism, with new travel opportunities for ordinary people - fortunately just as photography was becoming available to record it. 120 years later, and those images capture the imagination of today's many researchers, period enthusiasts and modellers, who find this railway has a very unique and enduring magic.