In rail transport, track gauge or track gage is the spacing of the rails on a railway track and is measured between the inner faces of the load-bearing rails. All vehicles on a rail network must have running gear, compatible with the track gauge, in the earliest days of railways the selection of a proposed railway's gauge was a key issue; as the dominant parameter determining interoperability, it is still used as a descriptor of a route or network. In some places there is a distinction between the nominal gauge and the actual gauge, due to divergence of track components from the nominal. Railway engineers use a device, like a caliper, to measure the actual gauge, this device is referred to as a track gauge; the terms structure gauge and loading gauge, both used, have little connection with track gauge. Both refer to two-dimensional cross-section profiles, surrounding the track and vehicles running on it; the structure gauge specifies the outline into which altered structures must not encroach.
The loading gauge is the corresponding envelope within which rail vehicles and their loads must be contained. If an exceptional load or a new type of vehicle is being assessed to run, it is required to conform to the route's loading gauge. Conformance ensures. In the earliest days of railways, single wagons were manhandled on timber rails always in connection with mineral extraction, within a mine or quarry leading from it. Guidance was not at first provided except by human muscle power, but a number of methods of guiding the wagons were employed; the spacing between the rails had to be compatible with that of the wagon wheels. The timber rails wore rapidly. In some localities, the plates were made L-shaped, with the vertical part of the L guiding the wheels; as the guidance of the wagons was improved, short strings of wagons could be connected and pulled by horses, the track could be extended from the immediate vicinity of the mine or quarry to a navigable waterway. The wagons were built to a consistent pattern and the track would be made to suit the wagons: the gauge was more critical.
The Penydarren Tramroad of 1802 in South Wales, a plateway, spaced these at 4 ft 4 in over the outside of the upstands. The Penydarren Tramroad carried the first journey by a locomotive, in 1804, it was successful for the locomotive, but unsuccessful for the track: the plates were not strong enough to carry its weight. A considerable progressive step was made. Edge rails required a close match between rail spacing and the configuration of the wheelsets, the importance of the gauge was reinforced. Railways were still seen as local concerns: there was no appreciation of a future connection to other lines, selection of the track gauge was still a pragmatic decision based on local requirements and prejudices, determined by existing local designs of vehicles. Thus, the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway in the West of Scotland used 4 ft 6 in; the Arbroath and Forfar Railway opened in 1838 with a gauge of 5 ft 6 in, the Ulster Railway of 1839 used 6 ft 2 in Locomotives were being developed in the first decades of the 19th century.
His designs were so successful that they became the standard, when the Stockton and Darlington Railway was opened in 1825, it used his locomotives, with the same gauge as the Killingworth line, 4 ft 8 in. The Stockton and Darlington line was immensely successful, when the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, the first intercity line, was built, it used the same gauge, it was hugely successful, the gauge, became the automatic choice: "standard gauge". The Liverpool and Manchester was followed by other trunk railways, with the Grand Junction Railway and the London and Birmingham Railway forming a huge critical mass of standard gauge; when Bristol promoters planned a line from London, they employed the innovative engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He decided on a wider gauge, to give greater stability, the Great Western Railway adopted a gauge of 7 ft eased to 7 ft 1⁄4 in; this became known as broad gauge. The Great Western Railway was successful and was expanded and through friendly associated companies, widening the scope of broad gauge.
At the same time, other parts of Britain built railways to standard gauge, British technology was exported to European countries and parts of North America using standard gauge. Britain polarised into two areas: those that used standard gauge. In this context, standard gauge was referred to as "narrow gauge" to indicate the contrast; some smaller concerns selected other non-standard gauges: the Eastern Counties Railway adopted 5 ft. Most of them converted to standard gauge at an early date, but the GWR's broad gauge continued to grow; the larger railway companies wished to expand geographically, large areas were considered to be under their control. When a new
North Norfolk Railway
The North Norfolk Railway – known as the "Poppy Line" – is a heritage steam railway in Norfolk, running between the towns of Sheringham and Holt. It cuts through the countryside to the east of Weybourne with views of its windmill and passes through the well preserved country station which houses a locomotive shed together with a carriage maintenance and restoration centre; the Norfolk Orbital Railway, an independent organisation, has plans to join and link the NNR with the Mid-Norfolk Railway. The line, just over 5 miles long, once formed part of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway. Work on rebuilding the line started in 1965, on 4 June 1967, two steam locomotives were delivered; the operating company, North Norfolk Railway plc, was launched in 1965 following the granting of two Light Railway Orders. In May 1973, the railway was the scene of filming for the episode "The Royal Train" of the popular TV programme Dad's Army; the railway won the'Independent Railway of the Year' award in 2006.
At Sheringham the line has now been reconnected to the National Rail network station via an'occasional use' level crossing. There are two stops between Sheringham and Holt -- Kelling Heath; the main restoration sheds are at Weybourne. They have room to accommodate four standard length British Railways Mark 1 coaches and six large steam or diesel locomotives. New carriage storage sheds have been built near Holt with Heritage Lottery funding; these have the capacity to store the equivalent of 18 Mark 1 coaches. The railway is operated by volunteers. There is a Junior club for members who are aged between 10 and 15; every year there is a volunteer of the year award and the'John D Hammer' trophy for the'Junior volunteer of the year'. The NNR operates both steam- and diesel-hauled services, organises a programme of seasonal special events including two steam galas, a diesel gala, Santas, "Day Out With Thomas" and an annual beer festival. A museum has been built at Holt to display artifacts from the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway.
The station building at Holt was built at Stalham in 1883 and was moved, brick by brick in 2002, to be re-erected in its current location. This project was awarded second place in the 2006 railway buildings competition by the Heritage Railway Association of the UK; the signal box at the station was restored on-site. The full signalling system at Holt, with 14 signals as well as the box, was commissioned in 2009 – winning the HRA signalling award for that year; the box was at Upper Portland Sidings in the East Midlands. There are several improvements planned for the railway. Now that the level crossing at Sheringham has been reinstated, one of the next projects is to rebuild the demolished buildings on Platform 2 at Sheringham station; the stanchions for the project are at Weybourne. This is seen as a medium to long term project, but a start may be made soon on erecting the stanchions; the project has seen a footbridge replaced to complement the original station look. The Tourist information Centre and public toilets that sat on the footprint of part of the trackbed between the station and the network rail link have been demolished and rebuilt in the style of the station, releasing the old trackbed alignment for future development.
Holt station is being developed. Projects include installing the weighbridge from Cambridge station, putting up a footbridge, reconstructing a'carriage house', a relocated example of the houses made with old railway carriages in the war years; the Norfolk Orbital Line is a long term proposed railway independent of the North Norfolk Railway but of which the North Norfolk Railway would form a significant part. It plans to create a line between Sheringham and Wymondham for regular passenger services, joining up with the Network Rail system at either end; these ambitions were aided on 2 January 2008 with the construction of the limited use level crossing between the North Norfolk Railway and the Bittern branch line. In 2016 the Norfolk Orbital Railway secured the section of the M&GNJR formation beyond that owned and operated by the North Norfolk Railway. Earthworks have been completed on this section, with the initial goal of laying a display section of track to advertise the project. There is a variety of preserved steam and diesel locomotives and diesel multiple units, passenger coaches and goods wagons.
Most of these are typical of the North Eastern Railway branch lines in Norfolk. Some are owned by the railway itself but most are owned by various individuals or voluntary groups; the line is regularly visited by locomotives based elsewhere. Some come for a day on a railtour, others for a few days or weeks to take part in a special gala, but a few stay for many months and form part of the stock working scheduled trains. On 17 November 2018 Great Eastern Railway Class Y14 0-6-0 locomotive 564 was in collision with a car on the level crossing accessing Sheringham golf course, while travelling at about 10mph; the car was badly damaged, but nobody was hurt and the train and rail infrastructure was not damaged. This automatic open level crossing, controlled by lights which were working properly at the time, is the only one in regular use on the railway. Bressingham Steam and Gardens Bure Valley Railway Mid-Norfolk Railway Wells and Walsingham Light Railway Whitwell & Reepham railway station Yaxham Light Railway Barton House Railway North Norfolk Railway The Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway Society North Norfolk Railway webcams Poppy Line Web Ring Heritage Railway Association
Under the Whyte notation for the classification of steam locomotives by wheel arrangement, 4-6-0 represents the configuration of four leading wheels on two axles in a leading bogie, six powered and coupled driving wheels on three axles and no trailing wheels. In the mid 19th century, this wheel arrangement became the second most popular configuration for new steam locomotives in the United States of America, where this type is referred to as a Ten-wheeler; as a locomotive pulling trains of lightweight all wood passenger cars in the 1890-1920s, it was exceptionally stable at near 100 mph speeds on the New York Central's New York to Chicago Water Level Route and on the Reading Railroad's Camden to Atlantic City, NJ, line. As passenger equipment grew heavier with all steel construction, heavier locomotives replaced the Ten Wheeler. During the second half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries, the 4-6-0 was constructed in large numbers for passenger and mixed traffic service.
A natural extension of the 4-4-0 American wheel arrangement, the four-wheel leading bogie gave good stability at speed and allowed a longer boiler to be supported, while the lack of trailing wheels gave a high adhesive weight. The primary limitation of the type was the small size of the firebox. In passenger service, it was superseded by the 4-6-2 Pacific type whose trailing truck allowed it to carry a enlarged firebox. Prussia and Saxonia however went directly to the 2-8-2 Mikado type. For freight service, the addition of a fourth driving axle created the 4-8-0 Mastodon type, rare in North America, but became popular on Cape gauge in Southern Africa; the 4-6-0T locomotive version was a far less common type. It was used for passenger duties during the first decade of the twentieth century, but was soon superseded by the 4-6-2T Pacific, 4-6-4T Baltic and 2-6-4T Adriatic types, on which larger fire grates were possible. During the First World War, the type was used on narrow gauge military railways.
In 1907, five 6th Class locomotives of the Cape Government Railways were sold to the 3 ft 6 in Benguela Railway. These included one of the Dübs-built locomotives of 1897 and two each of the Neilson and Company and Neilson and Company-built locomotives of 1897 and 1898. In the mid-1930s, in order to ease maintenance, modifications were made to the running boards and brake gear of the CFB locomotives; the former involved mounting the running boards higher, thereby getting rid of the driving wheel fairings. This gave the locomotives a much more American rather than British appearance. In April 1951, three Class NG9 locomotives were purchased from the South African Railways for the Caminhos de Ferro de Moçâmedes, they were placed in service on the Ramal da Chibía, a 600 mm gauge branch line across 116 kilometres from Sá da Bandeira to Chiange. The locomotives were observed dumped at the Sá da Bandeira shops by 1969 and the branch line itself was closed in 1970. In 1897, three Class 6 4-6-0 locomotives were ordered by the Cape Government Railways from Neilson and Company for use on the new Vryburg to Bulawayo line of the fledgling Bechuanaland Railway Company.
The line through Bechuanaland Protectorate was still under construction and was operated by the CGR on behalf of the BR at the time. The locomotives were returned to the CGR; the Finnish State Railways operated the Classes Hk1, Hk2, Hk3, Hk5, Hv1, Hv2, Hv3, Hv4, Hr2 and Hr3 locomotives with a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement. The Class Hk1, numbers 232 to 241, was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1898; the ten Baldwin locomotives were designated H1 class. Numbers 291 to 300 and 322 to 333 were built by the Richmond Locomotive Works in 1900 and 1901; the 22 Richmond locomotives were designated H2 class and were nicknamed Big-Wheel Kaanari. One of them, no. 293, the locomotive that brought Lenin from exile in August–September 1917 prior to the Russian Revolution, was presented by Finland to the Soviet Union on 13 June 1957 and is preserved at the Finland Station in St. Petersburg, Russia. Another 100 of these locomotives were manufactured in Finland from 1903 to 1916, numbered in the range from 437 to 574 and designated H3 to H8 classes.
The Class Hk5 was numbered from 439 to 515. One, no. 497, is preserved at Haapamäki. The Class Hv1 was built from 1915 by Lokomo, they were nicknamed Heikki and were numbered 545 to 578 and 648 to 655. The class remained in service until 1967. One, no. 555 named Princess, is preserved at the Finnish Railway Museum. The Class Hv2 was built by Berliner Maschinenbau and Lokomo in the years between 1919 and 1926, they were numbered 579 to 593, 671 to 684 and 777 to 780. One, no. 680, is preserved at Haapamäki. The Class Hv3 was built by Berliner and Lokomo in the years from 1921 to 1941, they were numbered 638 to 647, 781 to 785 and 991 to 999. Three Class Hv3 locomotives were preserved, no. 781 at Kerava, no. 995 at Suolahti and no. 998 at Haapamäki. The Class Hv4 was built by Tampella and Lokomo in the years from 1912 to 1933 and were numbered 516 to 529, 742 to 751 and 757 to 760. Two, numbers 742 and 751, are preserved at Haapamäki; the Swedish State Railways sold its Class Ta and Tb locomotives to Finland in 1942.
At the time, they were not in traffic in Sweden and, since they were purchased by Finland, they were not considered as war assistance. The Class Ta was designat
GWR 4900 Class 5972 Olton Hall
The steam locomotive no. 5972 Olton Hall is a 4-6-0 Hall class locomotive. In the early 2000s, the locomotive came to prominence when it was used in the Harry Potter films to pull the Hogwarts Express. Built in April 1937 at Swindon railway works for the Great Western Railway, it was first allocated to Carmarthen, South Wales where it remained until 1951. After being fitted with a three row superheater at Swindon, it was allocated to Plymouth Laira TMD, its last shed allocation was to Cardiff East Dock, before it was withdrawn in December 1963, acquired by Woodham Brothers, Vale of Glamorgan for scrap in May 1964. The locations of 5972 on particular dates. Woodham Brothers sold the locomotive to a private buyer and was stored at Procor Ltd in Wakefield, it left as the 125th departure from Barry in May 1981, it was based at National Railway Museum Shildon in County Durham. Since 2004, private tour operator Beyond Boundaries Travel has commissioned the train each summer for use on its Harry Potter Fan Trips tours of the United Kingdom.
On 11 March 2007, vandals targeted the coaches, causing £75,000 worth of damage at West Coast Railway Company's depot in Carnforth. Ten youths, aged between twelve and fourteen years, were arrested in connection with the incident — in which 337 windows on several coaches were smashed. In the films, the locomotive is depicted pulling the "Hogwarts Express", a fictional train, made up of four British Rail Mark 1 carriages. Scenes were filmed at King's Cross railway station, the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway — along with internal scenes on board the train; when filmed, Olton Hall carried a "Hogwarts Express" headboard on the smokebox, featuring the Hogwarts school crest. The same emblem is featured as part of the "Hogwarts Railways" sigil on carriages, it retains its GWR number of 5972, but with alternative nameplates fitted, naming the engine Hogwarts Castle. It is painted in a crimson livery — a non-standard colour, as Great Western Railway locomotives traditionally used green.
Olton Hall was not the first locomotive to be re-liveried to appear hauling the Hogwarts Express. To promote the fourth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire, Southern Railway West Country Class locomotive 34027 Taw Valley was temporarily repainted and renamed. However, it was rejected by film director Chris Columbus as looking "too modern" for the film, but it carried the name and colour for some months afterwards; the renaming as "... Castle" has become a railway preservation joke: "...the Hall that thinks it's a Castle"—the Great Western Railway Castle Class engines were different and larger. Three full-size replicas of the locomotive as 5972 Hogwarts Castle are at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Two as part of the Hogwarts Express train ride and the other is a static exhibit in the Hogsmeade area. There are static models at the other Wizarding World of Harry Potter locations in Hollywood and Japan. In 2015 the locomotive was put on static display at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter, near Watford.
5972 is sometimes used for work other than its "Hogwarts" duties. In May 2009 it was moved temporarily to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway, in July 2009 it was based at Tyseley Locomotive Works for use on some of the regular "Shakespeare Express" trains run by Vintage Trains during the Summer. Locomotive 5972 returned to the G&WR during their annual Wizard's Weekend event in 2010. In late 2011 the locomotive was on static display in Hyde Park, London in its "Hogwarts" red livery, in June–July 2014 it worked two final Wizards Express rail tours from Manchester to York before its mainline certificate expired; the Hornby Railways model of the locomotive is a model of a Castle class locomotive, not a Hall. Tri-ang Hornby did release a model of the Hall class in 1966. While Hornby may still have the moulds, they were modified some years ago to produce a Saint class replica. New tooling for a Hall is available in the current Hornby range. Other manufacturers have perpetuated this error, with Märklin using a Castle in their Hogwarts Express set.
While Bachmann Branchlines does produce models of the'Hall' and'Modified Hall' class locomotives, they have not offered one as 5972 "Hogwarts Castle", though Bachmann USA released one in their range. In 2015 Hornby introduced their model "RailRoad GWR 4-6-0'Olton Hall' 4900 Hall Class - R3169" announced in 2012. Vintage Trains official site Shakespeare Express official site Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway official site Woodham Brothers Limited
Tyseley Locomotive Works
Tyseley Locomotive Works the Birmingham Railway Museum is the engineering arm of steam railtour promoter Vintage Trains based in Birmingham, England. It occupies part of the former Great Western Railway's Tyseley depot, constructed in 1908 as a result of expanding operations in the West Midlands the opening of the North Warwickshire Line as a new main line from Birmingham to Bristol; as well as supporting the trust's operating wing Vintage Trains, it is home to an extensive collection of steam engines, ranging from small industrial builds to Great Western Railway'Castles' and'Halls', large ex-mainline diesel engines. Following the purchase of GWR Castle Class No.7029 Clun Castle in January 1966 by Patrick Whitehouse, the locomotive needed a base close to its central West Midlands supporters' base. Whitehouse found space available at Tyseley, on the site of the former GWR depot, formed 7029 Clun Castle Ltd to own both the locomotive and the rights to stable it at the depot. In October 1968, 7029 Clun Castle Ltd purchased LMS Jubilee Class No.5593 "Kolhapur".
With further locomotives and railway artefacts available as a result of the Beeching Axe, the supporters established the Standard Gauge Steam Trust as a registered educational charity, to preserve and demonstrate the steam locomotives. Following negotiations the trust acquired a long-term lease on a large part of the Tyseley site, established the Tyseley Collection which still owns the locomotives and artefacts via the limited company; the trust cleared buildings and repaired the dilapidated tracks, two water columns were repaired to allow steam locomotives to stay at the site. In 1968 the old coaling stage was converted into a two-road shed with an inspection pit to hold both acquired locomotives. In November 1966 Clun Castle was restored. In 1999 the trust achieved its long-held objective of running a regular steam train service on the national main line railway network: the Shakespeare Express between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-upon-Avon. At this point the trust felt that the term museum was inappropriate for its new status, hence separated its assets and operations into two new organisations, Tyseley Locomotive Works and the operating arm Vintage Trains, with the third arm remaining the Tyseley Collection.
There is an emphasis on running a professional locomotive overhaul and maintenance site, with significant numbers of other preserved railways and other private operators contracting work to Tyseley. To this extent the site was for a time used as a base of operations for Fragonset Railways. Located close to Tyseley railway station, the No.37 bus operated by National Express West Midlands passes the site. Located on the A41 Warwick Road, the site is 3 miles from Birmingham city centre, or 4 miles from Solihull; the site is no longer open to the public. As part of its educational programme the trust's operational arm Vintage Trains runs the Shakespeare Express between Birmingham Snow Hill and Stratford-upon-Avon. Aimed at recreating the feeling of the 1950s holiday trains, it has strong appeal to families, it is being used by coach and tour operators as a new feature within their programme. In October 2004 the trust announced the acquisition of a site adjacent to Stratford-upon-Avon railway station for future use as the Stratford Railway Tourist Centre and Steam Locomotive Centre.
This will provide a steam loco servicing centre at the southern end of the Shakespeare Line. A small museum is being considered. Steam Locomotives Diesel Locomotives Tyseley Locomotive Works official website Stock list
The Llangollen Railway is a volunteer-run heritage railway in Denbighshire, North Wales, which operates between Llangollen and Corwen. The standard gauge line, 10 miles long, runs on part of the former Ruabon - Barmouth GWR route that closed in 1965, it operates daily services in the summer as well as weekends throughout the winter months, using a variety of ex-GWR steam locomotives as well as several diesel engines and diesel multiple units. A 2 1⁄2 miles extension of the railway has been built to complete the line to Corwen. Llangollen was a popular place for tourists by the 1840s. Travel up to this point had been by horse-drawn carriage, but by the 1840s the Shrewsbury to Chester line had been completed, allowing passengers to alight at Llangollen Road, take a coach towards Holyhead. However, the commercial development of the local mining industry meant that the development of a railway became essential to the region's economic development. A number of schemes were proposed, including one by the LNWR, but it was not until 1 August 1859 that scheme engineered by Henry Robertson received Royal Assent.
The 5 1⁄4 miles Vale of Llangollen Railway left the Shrewsbury to Chester main line 1⁄2 mile south of Ruabon, proceeded as a single track line on a double track route via Acrefair to the new station at Llangollen. The line opened to freight on 1 December 1861, to passengers on 2 June 1862 at a temporary terminus on the town's eastern outskirts; the extension to Corwen was undertaken by the associated but separate Llangollen and Corwen Railway company, involved constructing a long tunnel under the Berwyn Mountains. It, together with the new centrally positioned and larger station in Llangollen, opened for service on 1 May 1865. Designated for closure under the Beeching cuts, the railway closed to passenger services on Monday 18 January 1965; the section between Ruabon and Llangollen Goods Yard remained open for freight traffic until April 1968, but after the cessation of operations the track was removed from the whole line between Ruabon and Barmouth. After the Beeching Axe, the Flint and Deeside Railway Preservation Society was founded in 1972 with the aim of preserving one of the "axed" railways.
The society was interested in preserving the Dyserth to Prestatyn line. The society refocused its attention on the Llangollen to Corwen section of the Ruabon to Barmouth line; the local council granted a lease of the Llangollen railway station building and 3 miles of track to the society, with the hope that the railway would improve the local economy and bring more tourists to Llangollen. The station reopened on 13 September 1975, with just 60 feet of track. Early progress was slow due to a lack of funding, though in 1977 Shell Oil donated a mile of unused track. Volunteers started laying the track with the aim of reaching 3⁄4 mile from Llangollen. Work finished in July 1981 with the remaining quarter mile of track used to lay sidings at the old Llangollen Goods Junction to house the railway's growing fleet of rolling stock; the working railway attracted the interest of many private companies, as well as the local council who renewed the lease of the land to the railway for a further 21 years.
The Llangollen Railway Trust was donated significant amounts of track, allowing the next extension of the line to Berwyn. This involved a £30,000 refurbishment by the local council of the Dee Bridge, which had fallen into disrepair since the commercial closure of the line; the first trains operated over the newly extended 1.75 mile line to Berwyn in March 1986. As rebuilding work progressed train services were extended to Deeside Halt and into Carrog on 2 May 1996. In 2011, work started on the 2 1⁄2 miles section of track past the site of the closed Bonwm Halt to Corwen; as the former Corwen railway station site has been in private use as an Ifor Williams Trailers showroom since 1990, the track bed in between sub-divided, a new temporary station was built on the eastern side of the town. The first stage of the project was completed in late 2014, with special trains running on 22 October 2014 to the new station at Corwen East for those who had contributed to the project. Regular passenger services to Corwen East started on 27 October 2014.
The official opening, on 1 March 2015, was marked by a special train. The section marks the full operational length of the preserved line; the trust cannot extend eastwards towards Ruabon, or westwards to Cynwyd as the trackbed was not safeguarded against modern development. The final stage is Corwen Central, with permanent facilities and a run round loop. Most trains are steam-hauled; the railway's workshops are the national focus of four major independent projects to rebuild steam locomotive types rendered extinct by scrapping in the 1960s: an ex-GWR'Grange' Class 4-6-0. Bala Lake Railway Ruabon to Barmouth Line Heritage railway Official website Llangollen Diesel Group 6880 project New website for Corwen Town and the extension LMS Patriot Project - The Unknown Warrior Ruabon to Barmouth
Swindon railway works was opened by the Great Western Railway in 1843 in Swindon, England. It served as the principal west England maintenance centre until closed in 1986. In 1835 Parliament approved the construction of the Great Western Main Line between London and Bristol by the Great Western Railway, its Chief Engineer was Isambard Kingdom Brunel. From 1836, Brunel had been buying locomotives from various makers for the new railway. Brunel's general specifications gave the locomotive makers a free hand in design, although subject to certain constraints such as piston speed and axle load, resulting in a diverse range of locomotives of mixed quality. In 1837, Brunel recruited Daniel Gooch and gave him the job of rectifying the heavy repair burden of the GWR's mixed bag of purchased locomotives, it became clear that the GWR needed a central repair works so, in 1840 Gooch identified a site at Swindon because it was at the junction of the Golden Valley line and a "convenient division of the Great Western line for engine working".
With Brunel's support, Gooch made his proposal to the GWR directors, who, on 25 February 1841, authorised the establishment of the works at Swindon. Construction started and they became operational on 2 January 1843. There are several stories relating to. A well-circulated myth that Brunel and Gooch were surveying a vale north of Swindon Hill and Brunel either threw a stone or dropped a sandwich and declared that spot to be the centre of the works; however Swindon's midway point between GWR terminals and the topography of land near the town were more factors. The GWR mainline was planned to cut through Savernake Forest near Marlborough, but the Marquess of Ailesbury, who owned the land, objected; the Marquess had objected to part of the Kennet & Avon Canal running through his estate. With the railway needing to run near to a canal at this point, as it was cheaper to transport coal for trains along canals at this time, Swindon was the next logical choice for the works, 20 miles north of the original route.
The line was laid in 1840. Tracks were laid at Didcot in 1839 and for some time this seemed a more site. Gooch noted that the nearby Wilts & Berks Canal gave Swindon a direct connection with the Somerset coalfield, he realised that engines needed to be changed at Swindon or close by as the gradients from Swindon to Bristol were much more arduous than the easy gradients between London and Swindon. Drawing water for the engines from the canals was considered, an agreement to this effect was completed in 1843. Gooch recorded at the time: Once the plan was set for the railway to come to Swindon, it was at first intended to bring it along the foot of Swindon Hill, so as to be as close as possible to the town without entailing the excessive engineering works of building on the hill. However, the Goddard family, following the example the Marquess of Ailesbury, objected to having it near their property, so it was laid a couple of miles further north. With many of the early structures built and adorned by stone extracted from the construction of Box Tunnel, the first building the locomotive repair shed, was completed in 1841 using contract labour, with the necessary machinery installed within it by 1842.
Only employing 200 men, repairs began in 1843, with the first new locomotive, the "Premier", built in 1846 in under two weeks and renamed "Great Western". This was followed by six more, with the Iron Dukes, including The Lord of the Isles, considered the fastest broad-gauge engine of its day. By 1851 the works were employing over 2,000 men and were producing about one locomotive a week, with the first standard-gauge engine built in 1855. A rolling mill for manufacturing rails was installed in 1861. Although some rolling stock was built at Wolverhampton and Saltney near Chester, most of the work was concentrated at Swindon. Like most early railways, the GWR was built with gentle gradients and the minimum of curves, which meant that it was able to operate fast, lightweight'single-wheelers', 2-2-2 and 4-2-2. However, from 1849 Gooch built 4-4-0 saddle tanks for the hillier routes in Devon; the Works transformed Swindon from a small 2,500 population market town into a bustling railway town. Built to the north of the main town centre, the works had need to build locally accessible housing and services for the workers.
The development of the railway village was on the lines of similar Victorian-era socially-encompassing lifestyle concepts, such as that at Bournville, but architect/builder Rigby's were given license to create a commercially viable development by the GWR. The completed village provided to the town medical and educational facilities, sorely lacking, plus St Mark's Church and the Bakers Arms public house, all completed before 1850; the terraced two-storey cottages were built on two blocks of four parallel streets, not dissimilar in appearance to passing trains. Each road was named after the destinations of trains that passed nearby: Bristol, Taunton, London and Reading among them. Built in the nearby open area, named Emlyn Square after GWR director Viscount Emlyn, was the Mechanics Institute, paid for via subscription by the workers. Designed and constructed by Edward Roberts, it was completed in 1855, containing the UK’s first lending library and provided health services to workers. Enlarged in 1892-93, Nye