great western railway


Brunel favoured a wider gauge of 7ft 1/4in, compared to Stephenson's 4ft 8 1/2in, and built his Great Western Railway from London to Bristol to these specifications. The Great Western was much of an outsider, with the majority of other companies going with Stephenson's 'Narrow Gauge', which meant that if was always going to lose out, and by 1892 the Great Western had joined the rest and gone standard gauge.

No main line GWR Broad Gauge locomotives survive today, the closest we got was Swindon initially saving North Star from scrap, but it was than scrapped in 1906, before parts of it were used for a replica in 1923. North Star replica is now displayed at STEAM, Swindon. Two other replicas have been built but unlike North Star, their purpose has been as operational locomotives. The first, Iron Duke, was constructed for the GWR 150 events and is part of the National Collection, while the second, Fire Fly, was built to operate over Didcot's Broad Gauge running line. Both locomotives are now based at Didcot and during the middle part of 2014 were posed together on numerous occasions, the first time two broad gauge locomotives have been seen together in well over a 100 years.

2-2-2 STAR class

north star

Replica Built Built: 1923, Swindon

Based: STEAM, Swindon

Status: Cosmetic Replica

Original Built: 1837

Original Withdrawn: 1871

2-2-2 firefly class

fire fly

Replica Built Built: 2005

Based: Didcot Railway Centre

Status: Awaiting Overhaul

Original Built: 1840

Original Withdrawn: 1870

4-2-2 Iron Duke class


Replica Built Built: 1985

Based: Didcot Railway Centre

Status: Static Display

Original Built: 1847

Original Withdrawn: 1871

south devon railway


Built: 1868, Sara & Company

Based: South Devon Railway

Status: Static Display