Javascript is required

BGS Publications   

Please send your Order or enquiries by email to our Publications Officer at

Some of the publications issued by the Society are featured here.  There are a few other publications now out of print, which may sometimes be obtained through a note on a newsletter, or the BGS email group.

Alternately some publications may be obtainable from 2nd hand booksellers.

If sufficient interest is found for certain BGS publications, they may be reprinted.  If you are interested in a particular Broad Gauge publication, please drop a line to the BGS Publications Officer.

BGS and Collaborations - Current Publications.

Available Again

Atmospheric book cover

Brunel's Atmospheric Railway - a BGS publication.

This publication, compiled and edited by Paul Garnsworthy is a lavishly illustrated history of Brunel's Atmospheric Railway.

The core of the book consists the 25 stunning watercolours painted by William Dawson in 1848, illustrating the atmospheric system under construction, and in use on the South Devon Railway; these images purchased directly from the Institution of Civil Engineers.

In order to do justice to the fine detail of the watercolours, this publication features a large page size in landscape format to show the artwork at its best.

Each artwork consists of a plan, section and views to each side of the line from Exeter to Totnes occupying a full page; while the opposite page containing a commentary accompanied by two modern comparative views.

There is further information on the development of atmospheric traction, William Dawson and his family, and a full history of the atmospheric system on the South Devon.  Also an account of the second phase 'horizontal' engine houses beyond Newton (which never saw operational use), and details of South Devon Railway piston carriages.  Plus biographical details of the principal personalities involved, along with brief information on the other three atmospheric railways which were built.

Thanks to several contributors, and the work of Mike Middleton in laying out the book for printing, we hope that William Dawson would feel that we have done justice to his original artwork, bringing his paintings to life for us to look back in wonderment.

Landscape format, 363mm wide by 297mm high, 104 pages.

Available from our Publications Officer at £35.00 + p&p, or to BGS members at discounted price of £30.00 plus p&p (it is a large publication).

Newly released

Taunton in the 1880s - Second Edition - a BGS publication.

To coincide with the 180th anniversary of the opening of Taunton Station in July 1842, the Broad Gauge Society have published a new edition of their acclained "Taunton in the 1880s".

Long out of print, this edition includes revised and updated information and captions, plus some more recent photographs of buildings mentioned in the text.

A chance conversation at a local Model Engineering club brought this photo collection to light.  Most of the photographs were taken at Taunton, and it is likely that they were taken in the period 1885-7.

A4, 96 pages, laminated card cover.
Publication year - 2023.
ISBN 978-1-7397947-2-9, published by the Broad Gauge Society

Available from our Publications Officer at £14.00 + p&p, or BGS members at discounted price of £11.00 (plus p&p @ £3.90 to U.K.).


'Ernest Struggles' – Broad Gauge Society Tribute Edition
Volume I: 1860-1867 - and - Volume II: 1867-1874 - Edited by Michael D. Middleton

The two volumes were originally published in 1879 and 1880, consisting of memoirs and comic anecdotes by Hubert A. Simmons, who had been a G.W.R. station master.  In addition to calling himself 'Ernest Struggles' he gave just about every character and place a pseudonym.  We have tracked down as many of these as possible, provided commentary on identifiable events, and added suitably irreverent illustrations. 

Autobiography or work of fiction? Historical and accurate record of actual events, or complete fantasy?  Manual on how to correctly operate a Broad Gauge railway, or a pettifogging list of complaints?   Serious description of a working railway, or random collection of comic anecdotes.  Helpful proposals for education of railway officials, or simply an act of revenge against overbearing managers?    Well, ALL of the above really – a real Victorian plum pudding of a book!

280 pages each volume (8pp colour, 272pp black and white).
Printed on Munken Cream paper, with coloured card covers.
Publication year - 2022.
ISBN Volume I: 978 1 7397947 0 5, published by the Broad Gauge Society
ISBN Volume II: 978 1 7397947 1 2, published by the Broad Gauge Society

Sold as a pair; available from our Publications Officer at £ 22.50 + p&p, or BGS members price of £ 20.00 (plus p&p).


Broad Gauge Engines of The Great Western Railway - Part 1: 1837-1840
- By The Reverend Canon Brian Arman

The nascent Great Western Railway's first engines were a motley selection, sourced from a variety of manufacturers, their design and performance not assisted by the somewhat stringent conditions imposed by Brunel during the tendering process.

Nevertheless, most of them were made to work by his brilliant young locomotive superintendent, Daniel Gooch. Part 1 begins the story of the GWR's broad gauge fleet of engines by looking at the design, construction and life of these early machines, starting with those locomotives supplied for the opening of their main line between Paddington and Maidenhead in the early summer of 1838.


144 pages. Printed on gloss art paper, hard bound with laminated board covers.  Publication year - 2018.

Available from our Publications Officer at £ 22.50 + p&p, or BGS members price of £ 20.00 (plus p&p).


The Broad Gauge Engines of the Great Western Railway - Part 2: 1840-1845
- By The Reverend Canon Brian Arman.

The story that unfolds in this second part of the story of the broad gauge motive power of the GWR, is an account of four groups of engines - the 'Fire Fly', 'Sun', 'Leo' and 'Hercules' classes - which achieved new levels of performance and reliability that had previously been unattainable, not only on the GWR but on any other railway in the kingdom.

As with Volume 1, the narrative is illustrated with a plethora of plans and drawings, along with an impressive number of early photographs, which all serve to bring these wonderful machines back to life.


144 pages. Printed on gloss art paper, hard bound with laminated board covers.  Publication year - 2020.

Available from our Publications Officer at £ 22.50 + p&p, or BGS members price of £ 20.00 (plus p&p).


The Broad Gauge Engines of the Great Western Railway - Part 3: 1846-1852
- By The Reverend Canon Brian Arman.

The story that unfolds in part three of the story of the broad gauge motive power of the GWR, is an account of further locomotive types including 'Great Western', plus the 'Prince', 'Iron Duke' and 'Bogie' classes.

As with previous volumes, the book is illustrated with a plethora of plans and drawings, along with an early photographs, helping us to get a better understanding of these fabulous period locomotives.


208 pages. Printed on gloss art paper, hard bound with laminated board covers.  Publication year - 2022.

Available from our Publications Officer at £ 30.00 + p&p, or BGS members price of £ 27.00 (plus £4.50 p&p).



The Broad Gauge Railway at Watchet

A book by BGS member Chris Saunders, whose 20 year project brought together a wealth of information about the early railways and development of the harbour at Watchet.

Watchet was initially a terminus for the Bristol & Exeter line from Taunton, serving passengers and freight, until the line was extended to the destination of Minehead in 1874. 

Happily the period was recorded by a few individuals who took up photography even though it was in its infancy.  Chris has been able to gather many of these images to form a collection showing development of the broad gauge railway, the harbour, and significant buildings constructed around the 1860s.  To these Chris has added captions that explain details in the photographs.


Reference ISBN13 : 9781911038085 - 64 pages; published by Black Dwarf Lightmoor, this book can be obtained on-line.

Available from our Publications Officer at £9.00 + p&p, or BGS members price of £7.00 (plus p&p).



Broad Gauge Locomotives

Written by Geof Sheppard with assistance from Brian Arman and Paul Garnsworthy; this is a definitive book listing all known 7ft gauge locomotives. 

This includes those owned by the Midland Railway, the London and South Western Railway, as well as the Great Western Railway and companies it absorbed.

It is copiously illustrated and includes details of the classes, major dimensions, names/numbers and build dates; and is printed on high quality glossy paper with colour covers.


The book was published in association with Kevin Robertson under his "Noodle Books" imprint. 

Available from our Publications Officer at £ 11.95 + p&p, or BGS members price of £ 8.00 (plus p&p).


A Broad Gauge Album

When a visitor to Newton Abbot's Town and GWR Museum produced an album of railway photographs dating from the latter part of the last century, curator Felicity Cole soon realised that she had an important find on her hands. 

The album proved to contain a substantial photographic record of the final years of the broad gauge, with many of the photos relating to Newton Abbot, and the final gauge conversion of the South Devon Railway main line and Torbay Branch.  The owner of the album lent the collection to the museum, and copies were made for the GWR museum's archive.

The museum then invited local historians and the members of the Broad Gauge Society to examine the material, and the published album presents a selection of the photographs, with caption material provided by these researchers.   (A number of the photographs were featured in 2006 as part of a large display, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the railway in Newton Abbot.) 

This album is probably the most comprehensive published record of Brunel's great vision as a working railway, as well as chronicling the conversion to "narrow" gauge.

Available from our Publications Officer, at £ 8.00 + p&p, or BGS members price of £ 7.00 (plus p&p).



Broad Gauge Railways

Published in 2018, written by Tim Bryan, who worked as curator at the GWR and STEAM museums in Swindon for more than 20 years.  

His book describes how Isambard Kindom Brunel considered the Great Western Railway the 'finest work in England' and how he implemented many groundbreaking features, though non so unorthodox as the decision to introduce the new 'broad gauge' of 7ft 1/4in. 

Describing the rationale behind the choice of broad gauge, and also the unique track and locomotives used, this is the history of Brunel's great brainchild.  The illustrated publication chronicles the construction of the initial GWR line from Bristol and London, and the expansion of the original 112 mile long main-line into a newtwork stretching across the West of England and more.

It also describes how the clash between broad and narrow led to the 'Battle of the Gauges, and ultimate demise of the broad gauge.

The BGS has a stock of this recent publication priced at £ 7.99 + p&p, or BGS members price of £ 6.00 (plus p&p).
If you would like a copy of this book, please contact our Treasurer Paul directly by email :


The Tiverton Museum Railway Collection.

The Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life houses more than one item of major significance to the transport historian.  Foremost is a former G.W.R. locomotive (the Tivvy Bumper), that once operated on the now defunct and still lamented branch line to the town. 

In addition there are a number of smaller exhibits, including a unique survivor from Victorian times: the notebook used by the engineer responsible for the building of the Exe Valley Railway.

This remarkable document was found in, of all places, Australia, but is now secure in the museum.  Within its covers are a series of wonderful drawings and contemporary notes, never previously available to the historian or local history enthusiast, but are brought to life in this book compiled by Great Western devotee, Amyas Crump. 

In addition to the records within the notebook, this book contains other examples, plans, photographs and documents from the museum and other private collections.  The result is a wonderful archive to delight both the enthusiast and residents of the local area.

This Limited Edition publication is compiled with the acknowledged assistance of the Tiverton Museum and the Broad Gauge Society.

ISBN 978 1 906419 39 4 - b/w with illustrations and plans.
Available from the BGS at £ 10.00 + p&p, or BGS members price of £ 7.00 (plus p&p).


Please email our Publications Officer with Orders or enquiries at :