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BGS Atmospheric   


Adding to the range of publications issued by the Society is this beautiful book.  Edited by Paul Garnsworthy, with contributions from others, this large format book promotes the work of contempory artist William Dawson.  The book contains his wonderful illustrations of the route of the South Devon's Atmospheric Railway; along with other chapters on its history, operation, and engine houses.

This is a book worthy of being in your collection.

Brunel's Atmospheric Railway

Atmospheric book cover

In 1998, marking the 150th anniversary of the South Devon Atmospheric Railway, we released a booklet about this railway, and have since have received numerous requests to produce an upgraded edition.

Since that time, improvements in desk-top publishing have made this possible, and with the decision to produce a new publication taken, the Society purchased a full set of high resolution images of William Dawson's 25 Atmospheric Railway watercolours from the Institution of Civil Engineers.

The result of many further hours work is the Broad Gauge Society's lavishly illustrated publication - Brunel's Atmospheric Railway - compiled and edited by Paul Garnsworthy.

In order to do justice to the fine detail of the watercolours, this publication features a large page size in landscape format, at 363mm wide by 297mm high, to show the artwork at its best.

This publication was a joint venture with the 'Friends of Devon's Archives', who helped to sponsor the initial printing costs of the project; which allowed us to include several new informative chapters.

The core of the book consists of the 25 stunning watercolours painted by William Dawson in 1848, illustrating the atmospheric system under construction, and in use on the South Devon Railway.

Sample Dawson artwork Sample illustration text

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

This large book comprises 104 pages, and includes 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 included is a selection of atmospheric paintings, modern comparative images to set against Dawson's work, 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.

'Brunel's Atmospheric Railway' is available from the BGS Publications Officer, for the sum of £20.00, or at a discounted price to BGS members of £18.00; plus postage and packing.