The last broad gauge train to the West in Sonning Cutting, GWR, 20 May 1892.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library
Oil painting by F Moore illustrating the last broad guage train going west on the Great Western Railway. Broad gauge track was invented by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) to increase the stability and speed of rail travel, and used on his Great Western Railway. The track measured seven feet (2.2 m) acros compared to Stephenson's (1781-1848) standard gauge track of just four feet eight and a half inches (1.55 m). However, it proved unpopular because of the inconvenience of having to transfer pasengers and goods between the two standards of track, and was eventually replaced with standard guage.