|R302||175th Anniversary of the Swindon Railway Works||£12.50||Buy Now|
Issue Date: 25/02/2016
Issue Name: 175th Anniversary of the Swindon Railway Works
Producer: Buckingham Covers
The 25th February 2016 will mark 175 years since the inception of the Swindon Railway Works with Daniel Gooch the driving force behind the works. To commemorate this occasion we have designed this lovely cover.
175th Anniversary of the Swindon Railway Works
It was in 1835 that Parliament approved the construction of a new railway between London and Bristol; the chief engineer at the time was Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Daniel Gooch was recruited in 1837 to organise the repair of the Great Western Railways many different locomotives. The need for a central base in which to conduct the repairs quickly became apparent. Gooch searched for a suitable site and approached the board of directors with Brunel's support in 1841 with the proposl for a railway works to be built at the junction of the Cheltenham branch. On the 25th February 1941 Gooch received official authorisation from the board and construction could begin.
Many of the original structures were built with the stone extracted from the famous Box Tunnel; the locomotive repair shed was the first building to be completed in 1841. The Works opened to conduct repairs in 1843 with its first locomotive the 'Premier' built in 1846 and renamed 'Great Western'. The Works expanded so much that by 1851 over 2000 men were employed, producing a locomotive a week. The locomotives that ran on the line were typically lightweight 2-2-2 or 4-2-2- trains. From 1849 Gooch lso had 4-4-0 saddle tanks built for the steeper gradients in Devon. 1850 saw standard goods wagons also being produced from the Railway Works.
Joseph Armstrong took over the works in 1864 and concentrated on improving the passenger stock which resulted in a separate carriage and wagon being built north of the station. Boiler and tender making shops were added in 1875. George Jackson Churchward became head of the works in 1897 and the works began producing heavier locomotives such as the 'North Star' and the 'Pacific'.
During World War II Swindon began making gun mountings and machinery for tanks. Swindon Railway Works closed in 1986 after many years of adapting to the creation of new machines and new guages. Part of the site has now been converted into the STEAM Museum.
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