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 screen sizes and browsers.
The site is evolving slowly, so there is more to come. Indexing of the Broadsheet 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
Info : May 2013 Notice
A new BGS publication - edited by Paul Garnsworthy - Brunel's Atmospheric Railway, will be available very soon !
Info : April 2013 Postal Rates
- A rise in postal weight/size rates means we have had to revise p&p charges for modelling parts.
Info : 2013 BGS Field trip
Visiting the Falmouth branch line, Cornwall, on 29th June 2013;
150th anniversary year of the opening.
Info : Dec 2012 - New BGS kit in 7mm scale available, '3501' Class 2-4-0T.
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 the 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 our 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 often 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 lines were absorbed into the larger Great Western Railway; but its Broad Gauge routes remained the best 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.