For enthusiasts and researchers of the Great Eastern Railway

RE046 The Gauge Question, 1846.

  • RE046   The Gauge Question, 1846.

NEW MAY 2020.  In the 1840's a monthly broadsheet was produced with the title 'The Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal, Scientific and Railway Gazette'. As its long name implied, it contained much that was not railway related, such as church restorations and reports on the ventilation of the Houses of Parliament. A big question of the day was what gauge the country's railways should have, however, and a search of all the 450 pages from 1846 comes up with no fewer than 700 mentions of the word 'gauge'.

The 31 pages of extracts in this file contain the most important ones. They start with the findings of the Royal Commission on the Broad and Narrow Gauges, which reported early in the year. Four successive articles follow, analysing some of the evidence that had been put before them. This includes submissions from Robert Stephenson and from George Bidder. The editor of the Journal seemed to take a dislike to Bidder - while at pains to stress his integrity, he poured scorn on some of his technical conclusions. (He did much the same in a report on the cause of a fatal derailment on the Norfolk Railway near Thetford, which also appeared in 1846. That account features in our file RH075, which you will find HERE.)

The experience of the Northern and Eastern was particularly relevant since they had already undergone a gauge change. They had started at 5 feet to tie in with the Eastern Counties Railway at the London end, but soon they were casting their eyes on lines in the Midlands and felt obliged to convert to 4 feet 8½ inches together with the ECR.

The file continues with the less than enthusiastic response from the Board of Trade, and also with some further evidence put before a Select Committee of the House of Lords on the matter.

The main concern of the public was safety, especially concerning stability at high speeds: was the narrow gauge a greater risk and more prone to catastrophic derailments? The railway companies themselves were probably more interested in the economics, since some engineers claimed that larger boilers made the broad gauge trains cheaper to run. With that in mind, the next extract gives detailed results of a rather poorly designed experiment comparing the performances of specially-run Great Western trains between Paddington and Didcot with ones on the Great North of England line between York and Darlington.

Finally comes an example of a piece of lateral thinking about the possibility of running trains over both gauges. Instead of having mixed gauge track, why not have mixed gauge rolling stock, with two pairs of wheels on each axle? This is the only article here which has illustrations - drawings, including the layout of track at end-on junctions.

The file has bookmarks to all the sections and is word-searchable. It will be available to download as soon as payment has been made. You go to your account and click on ‘Downloads’. New customers create an account as they place their order.

File
Pages 31
File Size (MB) 23

Write a review

Please login or register to review
  • £1.20


Related Products

MG006 GER-related extracts from the Locomotive Magazine 1902-1903

MG006 GER-related extracts from the Locomotive Magazine 1902-1903

NEW OCTOBER 2017.  This file contains articles of GER interest taken from the pages of the Loco..

£1.00

RH049  The Northern and Eastern Railway and the Norfolk Railway

RH049 The Northern and Eastern Railway and the Norfolk Railway

NEW OCTOBER 2017.  The Northern and Eastern Railway was responsible for building the line throu..

£1.00

RH050  The ECR, L&BR and N&ER in 1842

RH050 The ECR, L&BR and N&ER in 1842

NEW NOVEMBER 2017.  These are pages from the book 'The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland' b..

£1.50

RE042   Modern British Permanent Way 1915

RE042 Modern British Permanent Way 1915

NEW OCTOBER 2018.  Between 1911 and 1914 the magazine Railway News published a series of articl..

£1.50

RH075   Derailment on the Norfolk Railway near Thetford, 1845.

RH075 Derailment on the Norfolk Railway near Thetford, 1845.

NEW MAY 2020. On Christmas Eve 1845 the 11.15 am up train from Norwich came off the track when trave..

£0.80

RE047   Landslips in cuttings, 1845.

RE047 Landslips in cuttings, 1845.

NEW MAY 2020. In 1845 the construction of several new railways was being hindered by landslips in cu..

£0.80

RE048  Atmospheric Railways, early 1840's.

RE048 Atmospheric Railways, early 1840's.

NEW MAY 2020.  In the early days of railways, the means of haulage was still very much an open ..

£1.20

RH078:  Parliament and the Railways in the 1840s.

RH078: Parliament and the Railways in the 1840s.

NEW JUNE 2020. This comprises three items from The Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal, Scientifi..

£0.60

RE049  The Permanent Way in the 1840's.

RE049 The Permanent Way in the 1840's.

NEW JUNE 2020. This file contains descriptions of the permanent way used on early railways in the 18..

£0.80

This site uses cookies to maintain logged-in status and other essential functions.