'Break of Gauge at Gloucester', Gloucestershire, 6 June 1846.
3 0 c m
actual image size: 32cm x 22cm

'Break of Gauge at Gloucester', Gloucestershire, 6 June 1846.

Linton, W J (William James)

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Plate by W J Linton from the Illustrated London News. The rails of George Stephenson's (1781-1848) first public railway constructed in 1825 were set 4 feet 8 inches apart. However, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1803-1859), in his construction of the Great Western Railway, set them just over 7 feet apart. The result was the 'Battle of the Gauges', where pasengers had to change between the two systems between Birmingham and Bristol. A comic version of the chaos that ensued is depicted here, showing pasengers and luggage being transferred from broad gauge to narrow gauge carriages at Gloucester station, on their way to Birmingham.



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