The Broad Gauge Engines of the Great Western Railway Part 2: 1840-1845 (Lightmoor)

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This second volume of the story of the broad gauge motive power of the Great Western Railway, is a detailed account of the four groups of engines introduced from the spring of 1840 – the “Fire Fly”, “Sun”, “Leo” and “Hercules” classes. These locomotives achieved new levels of performance and reliability that had previously been unattainable, not only on the GWR but on any other railway in the world.

In its first years of operation between 1838 and 1840, the Great Western Railway gained something of a reputation for unreliability among the travelling public. Matters became so difficult that the railway was forced to suspend timetabled operation in 1839, running trains only when sufficient locomotives and rolling stock were available.

From this low point and following the introduction of the new, improved engines from the spring of 1840, the GWR progressed from being one of the railway’s ‘black sheep’ to a status of near preeminence by the mid-1840s. This achievement resulted from the meticulous design work undertaken by the GWR’s Locomotive Superintendent Daniel Gooch, always with the support and encouragement of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and working with a dedicated team of draughtsmen and assistant engineers.

As well as a comprehensive narrative, The Broad Gauge Engines of the Great Western Railway Part 2: 1840-1845 contains 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. Hardback. 144 pages.

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