Sam, I. K. (Isambard Kingdom) Brunel is a legendary civil engineer in British annals. Aside from many engineering projects, he is perhaps most well known for building the Great Western Railway to a 7 foot, 1/4 inch gauge to allow for high speed operation in the late 1800's. A comprehensive article on Mr. Brunel can be found here:
Approximately halfway through the article is a photo of dual gauge (4ft 8 1/2inch & 7 ft 1/4inch) trackage, showing the dramatic difference between the two.
George and Robert (George's son) Stephenson have a society dedicated to them in Great Britain. Here's a link to the Stephenson Locomotive Society:
http://www.stephensonloco.fsbusiness.co ... george.htm