READING AND WRITING ON THE GWR


“Two new locomotives! The replica 1840 broad gauge locomotive “Fire Fly” on broad gauge track and the A1 Trust’s new build “Tornado” at Didcot Railway Centre. Photo: Frank Dumbleton.”


Isambard Kingdom Brunel was appointed Engineer of the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1833. By October 1835 he had persuaded the Great Western Railway Board of Directors by a large majority to adopt his broad gauge, "to admit of rails being laid to the extreme width proposed by Mr Brunel, viz 7 feet" (now accepted to be 7ft 0¼ inch). By this time, Brunel's annual salary is £2,000 (£260,000 at current values).


180 years ago in spring 1841, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was giving evidence to the Select Committee on the Prevention of Accidents on Railways. In his evidence he said that “the very best engine driver we ever had; a very superior man, who is now foreman of our engineers at Readin