Daily Archives: May 31, 2011

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era – GWR Broad Gauge

Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Great Western Railway  1837   North StarAuthor Geof Sheppard  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

One of the earliest and best known GWR broad gauge engines.  It was one of two, built in 1837 by R.Stephenson & Co. fro the New Orleans Railway of the USA, to the 5’ 6” gauge, but never delivered.  They were altered to 7’ 0” gauge and purchased by the GWR, the first as North Star in 1837, and the second one, Morning Star, in 1839.  Ten others of the same general design but differing in detail appeared between 1839 and 1841.  Morning Star was non-standard from the others in having 6’ 6” driving wheels.  The others were also named after stars, and most of these names reappeared many years later on Churchward 4-cylinder 4-6-0s.

North Star was re-boilered in 1854 and worked until 1871.  On withdrawal it was preserved at Swindon, and it was joined in 1884 by one of the larger 4-2-2s, Lord of the Isles. Unfortunately in 1906 an unforgivable act of ruthlessness caused these fine historic relics to be broken up.  Some measure of atonement was made in 1925 by constructing a full sized replica of the North Star as it was first built, although this could never be quite the same as the preservation of the original machine.

Original dimensions:  Driving wheels – 7’ 0”,  Leading and trailing wheels – 4’ 0”,  Cylinders – 16”x 16”,  Weight 23 tons 7cwt.

 Another GWR Broad gauge design

Great Western Railway

Broad Gauge 4-2-2s

Bulkeley – Built in 1880

Working replica made by Resco Railways Ltd, 1983-1985, shown in Kensington Gardens, London. The locomotive represented by this replica was designed by Sir Daniel Gooch (1816-1889) to run on Brunel’s broad gauge tracks on the Great Western Railway (GWR). Gooch trained with Robert Stephenson in Newcastle and was the locomotive superintendent for the GWR for 27 years. The broad gauge measured 7 foot compared to Stephenson’s standard gauge of 4 foot 8 1/2 inches and was eventually superseded because of the inconvenience of having to transfer passengers and goods between the two standards of track. The ‘Iron Duke’ class locomotives were capable of attaining speeds approaching 80 mph.

 The initial engine was named Iron Duke and 22 of them were built at Swindon between 1847 and 1851, together with another seven by Rothwell & Co. in 1854 and 1855.  Most of them were nominally rebuilt from 1871 onwards, but the so-called renewals were in fact entirely new engines, although of the same general design as the originals and bearing the same names (none of them was ever given a number0.  24 of the rebuilds came out between 1871 and 1888, but as the broad gauge disappeared in 1892 the final three had a working life of only four years, the total mileage of the last one, Tornado, being but 192,203.  One of them, Lord of the Isles, was preserved at Swindon, along with North Star until 1906, when both of them were, regrettably broken up.  It will be noted that these engines were not bogie engines, the leading wheels being rigid within the sandwich framing.

Dimensions of the later built engines:  Driving wheels – 8’ 0”,  Carrying wheels – 4’ 6”,  Cylinders – 18”x 24”,  Pressure – 140lbs.,  Weight 41 tons 14 cwt