The Great Western Archive web site
By Al Barten
FOR those who build scale replicas, there are few things more exciting than uncovering a collection of authentic scale drawings from which to work. If you are interested in the Great Western Railway, make sure you're sitting down when you go to this site. The Great Western Archive web site (http://www.greatwestern.org.uk/) by John Daniel has all manner of track plans and equipment drawings. Add to that other historical information and data and you have a web site you could spend a lot of time studying.
In addition to the wealth of information provided by The Great Western Archive, I found the site very clearly laid out, easy to navigate, and quick loading. It also has some nice features, such a pictures that turn into related text when you place the cursor over them, and a Links icon that displays all the high level links on the site as well as some things you may have trouble finding by any other method.
Here are the main categories and a few notes about what to expect.
Great Western Stations. Contains a track plan for each of eight different stations and a switch box diagram for five of the switch boxes.
Swindon drawings. Contains drawings under three categories:
Great Western Locomotive Lot Numbers. Contains equipment order numbers in a downloadable Microsoft Excel spread sheet.
Great Western Stock Codes. Lists stock codes for GWR rolling stock (carriages and wagons).
Great Western Coaches. Contains photos of a variety of GWR coaches. Click a picture to display background information.
Great Western Signal Boxes. Lists a great number of GWR signal boxes (switch towers in America) and includes locations and times of being open.
The GWR Railcars. Provides an historical account of GWR's Associated Equipment Co. Ltd. (AEC) railcars.
The story of Woodham Brothers at Barry. Provides an historical account of the legendary scrap yard of Woodham Brothers at Barry, South Glamorgan.
Back to basics. Is a 17-part series describing the workings of a steam locomotive.
GWR names locomotive database. Is a database that lists all standard gauge named GWR locomotives and associated background information.
Preserved Steam Locomotives. Describes preserved steam locos from British Rail and the "Big Four," including useful data.
The Tony Dunkley Collection. Contains a collection of copyable images by the late Tony Dunkley. The picture at the top of this article is from this collection.
History of the Great Western Railway. Covers the period of 1835-1900.
The Western Region Archive. Describes the Western Region's diesel-hydraulic locomotives.
Other categories. Includes other categories that you reach by clicking the Links icon and selecting from the dropdown list that appears. You'll find steam sounds here among other things.
Article ©2004 Alfred Barten. All rights reserved.