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BGS Web Site  

Welcome to the BGS web-site, which should work with most computer screen sizes and browsers.  Please use the Menu structure above to navigate your way around the site. 

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There is an index of the Society's 'Broadsheet' magazine articles under the Publications tab, so you can look for details of subjects previously described.


Info : Sept 2023
Peter has introduced a new item in the 7mm scale range; S053 is a Gooch reverse lever and quadrant, available now.
Check the   7mm kits page.

Info : Apr 2023
Available again - we are pleased to announce we have been able to reprint 'Buunel's Atmospheric Railway' featuring Dawson's wonderful 1848 watercolours.
For info, please visit the  Publications page.

Info : Apr 2023
A revised edition of the BGS publication 'Taunton in the 1880s' is now available.
For info, please visit the  Publications page.

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 railway 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 Britain.

With designs evolving over time, locomotives were built by numerous companies and railways, but were typically wide bodied with fairly large spindly driving wheels, most often sporting polished brasswork.   As can be seen in some of these photos, early train crews needed to be hardy, with often barely a small weatherboard as protection from the elements.

This period saw the creation of locomotive and signalling technologies that were to shape railways for the next 100 years.  Brunel's influence also pushed the boundaries of civil engineering and engaging architecture that gave the railway a distinct identity, some of which survives modernisation.

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, that lasted over fifty years.

Its supercession came in May 1892, with conversion of all G.W.R. lines to 'narrow' gauge (now 'standard'), 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.  Close to 130 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.

Hopefully this web-site will help you glimpse some aspects of the Broad Gauge railway, its history and operation, - along with the activities of the  'Broad Gauge Society',  formed to research, archive, model, and sometimes to re-create this amazing railway.    Please explore . . .