Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

150th Ann of the Paddington to Penzance Broad Gauge Passenger Services

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  • 150th Anniversary of the Paddington to Penzance Broad Gauge Passenger Services
  • Featuring a stunning painting of The Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash
  • And a London W2 postmark (1st March, 2017)


Issue Date: 01/03/2017

Issue Name: 150th Ann of the Paddington to Penzance Broad Guage Passenger Service

Producer: Buckingham Covers

 

Broad Gauge was pioneered in Britain by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the late 1830s for the Great Western Railway. A number of other new railway companies adopted the specification, creating a network that spread across much of South West England and South Wales.

On the 1st March 1967, through trains from London Paddington to Penzance began running and included fast services such as the 10:15 Cornishman and the 11:45 Flying Dutchman. Our cover, celebrating the 150th anniversary of these broad gauge services, features a stunning painting by railway artist John Wigston showing Brunel's Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash.

 

  • 150th Anniversary of the Paddington to Penzance Broad Gauge Passenger Services
  • Featuring a stunning painting of The Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash
  • And a London W2 postmark (1st March, 2017)

 

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The Great Western Railway

In 1836, the fledgling Great Western Railway was laid to a gauge of 7 feet 1Ž4 inch, as directed by young engineer I. K. Brunel.  A number of other new railway companies adopted the specification, creating a network with a unique style and infrastructure that spread across much of South West England and South Wales. This most creative period was part of the huge industrial revolution that transformed everyday life in England.

Many independent railways were absorbed into the larger Great Western Railway, but the Broad Gauge routes remained the most comfortable way to travel; a definitively superior and elegant passenger railway system, with creative transport solutions for goods, lasting over fifty years.

In the south west, the line from Chippenham to Weymouth, authorised in 1845, was completed in 1857.  Two years later the Royal Albert Bridge in Saltash was completed allowing broad gauge trains to reach Truro, but the line beyond had already opened with just narrow tracks; this was widened to mixed tracks in 1866 to allow through trains from Paddington to Penzance.

On 1 March 1867, through trains from London Paddington to Penzance began running and included fast services such as the 10:15 Cornishman and 11:45 Flying Dutchman, but these still took nine hours or more for the journey.

One final broad gauge line was built in the far West; the St. Ives branch opened on 1 June 1877, 39 years after the first broad gauge train had steamed out of Paddington.  By now broad gauge trains only ran from Paddington to Penzance.  Several of these were converted during the years to 1891, which just left Exeter to Truro and associated branch line routes.  In a massive final push, these were all narrowed over the hectic weekend of May 21 - 22, 1892, and the broad gauge was no more!

 

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