Image title: Tornado broad gauge steam locomotive c. late 1880s:

Tornado broad gauge steam locomotive c. late 1880s:

Another remarkable image from the Eddie Johnson Collection, depicting a breathtaking piece of late Victorian technology. You could say it was the 'Concorde' of its day, achieving an amazing 80mph. Read the description below by Eddie Johnson.

Tornado, c.late 1880s: At the behest of the legendary Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Great Western Railway set its gauge (the distance between the running rails) at 7ft.0¼in., something that set it at odds with the rest of the British mainland system which used George Stephenson’s 4ft.8½in.gauge. Brunel, however, so convinced of his superior ideas, believed all other companies would soon be forced to follow suit. He was wrong. The Great Western remained an outcast with its broad gauge and began to use a mixed gauge track to enable through running from other lines. In the end and at huge expense, the Great Western had to abandon Brunel’s ideas and the last broad gauge trains ran on May 20th 1892. Tornado was one of Daniel Gooch’s celebrated Broad Gauge “8-footers” equipped with a single driving wheel an enormous 8ft.in diameter. Thus equipped, these magnificent-looking machines ran regularly at up to 80 mph – a phenomenal speed in a day and age that was still, outside of the railways, in the horse and cart era. Interestingly, the Tornado name lives on today as the name of the newly-built Class A1 Pacific locomotive to a post-war LNER design and now being completed in Darlington.


Tornado broad gauge steam locomotive c. late 1880s:



ID number:

Technical details:
Scanned from an original black and white negative

railways, railway archive, broad gauge, Victorian, 19th century, 19th c, Great Western, trains, steam train images, steam trains

Date created:

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