Great Western Railway

GWRGreat WesternGreat Western Railway CompanyGreat Western Railway (GWR)Swansea Harbour TrustGWR’sG.W.R.Great Western Railways2.14 meter rail gaugeBirmingham & Oxford Railway Company
The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company that linked London with the southwest and west of England, the West Midlands, and most of Wales.wikipedia
3,813 Related Articles

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

BrunelBrunel gaugeI. K. Brunel
It was engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who chose a broad gauge of —later slightly widened to —but, from 1854, a series of amalgamations saw it also operate standard-gauge trains; the last broad-gauge services were operated in 1892.
Brunel built dockyards, the Great Western Railway, a series of steamships including the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship, and numerous important bridges and tunnels.

History of rail transport in Great Britain

British railway companyBritish railwaysrailway boom
The Great Western Railway (GWR) was a British railway company that linked London with the southwest and west of England, the West Midlands, and most of Wales.
In 1923, almost all the remaining companies were grouped into the "big four", the Great Western Railway, the London and North Eastern Railway, the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and the Southern Railway.

Western Region of British Railways

Western RegionWestern Region of British RailWestern
The GWR was the only company to keep its identity through the Railways Act 1921, which amalgamated it with the remaining independent railways within its territory, and it was finally merged at the end of 1947 when it was nationalised and became the Western Region of British Railways.
The Region consisted principally of ex-Great Western Railway lines, minus certain lines west of Birmingham, which were transferred to the London Midland Region in 1963 and with the addition of all former Southern Railway routes west of Exeter, which were subsequently rationalised.

GWR road motor services

bus servicesGreat Western Railwayroad motor services
It operated a network of road motor (bus) routes, was a part of the Railway Air Services, and owned ships, docks and hotels.
The Great Western Railway road motor services operated from 1903 to 1933 by the Great Western Railway, both as a feeder to their train services, and as a cheaper alternative to building new railways in rural areas.

Cornish Riviera Express

Cornish RivieraCornish Riviera Limited
Great Western trains included long-distance express services such as the Flying Dutchman, the Cornish Riviera Express and the Cheltenham Spa Express.
Introduced by the Great Western Railway, the name Cornish Riviera Express has been applied to the late morning express train from London to Penzance continuously through nationalisation under British Rail and privatisation under First Great Western, only ceasing briefly during the two World Wars.

GWR Autocoach

autotrainsautocoachesautocoach
It also operated many suburban and rural services, some operated by steam railmotors or autotrains.
The GWR Autocoach (or auto-trailer) is a type of coach that was used by the Great Western Railway for push-pull trains powered by a steam locomotive.

Flying Dutchman (train)

Flying DutchmanFlying Dutchman'' (train)
Great Western trains included long-distance express services such as the Flying Dutchman, the Cornish Riviera Express and the Cheltenham Spa Express.
It ran from 1849 until 1892, originally over the Great Western Railway (GWR) and then the Bristol and Exeter Railway.

Osborne Clarke

Brunel surveyed the entire length of the route between London and Bristol himself, with the help of many, including his solicitor Jeremiah Osborne of Bristol law firm Osborne Clarke who on one occasion rowed Brunel down the River Avon himself to survey the bank of the river for the route.
The firm played a significant role in the development of the railways in Southern England through its historic relationship with Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the Great Western Railway.

Torquay

Torquay, EnglandTorquay, DevonMaidencombe
The GWR was called by some "God's Wonderful Railway" and by others the "Great Way Round" but it was famed as the "Holiday Line", taking many people to English and Bristol Channel resorts in the West Country as well as the far southwest of England such as Torquay in Devon, Minehead in Somerset, and Newquay and St Ives in Cornwall.
After the war, the Great Western Railway launched an advertising campaign to attract tourists, and this helped the town grow to a major south coast resort.

John Cooke Bourne

J.C. Bourne
Involvement in major earth-moving works seems to have fed Clark's interest in geology and archaeology and he, anonymously, authored two guidebooks on the railway: one illustrated with lithographs by John Cooke Bourne; the other, a critique of Brunel's methods and the broad gauge.
John Cooke Bourne (September 1, 1814 – February 1896) was a British artist, engraver and photographer, best known for his lithographs showing the construction of the London and Birmingham Railway and the Great Western Railway.

St Ives, Cornwall

St IvesSt. IvesSt. Ives, Cornwall
The GWR was called by some "God's Wonderful Railway" and by others the "Great Way Round" but it was famed as the "Holiday Line", taking many people to English and Bristol Channel resorts in the West Country as well as the far southwest of England such as Torquay in Devon, Minehead in Somerset, and Newquay and St Ives in Cornwall.
The modern seaside resort developed as a result of the arrival of the St Ives Bay branch line from St Erth, part of the Great Western Railway in 1877.

Oxford

Oxford, EnglandCity of OxfordOxford, UK
Secondly, he selected a route, north of the Marlborough Downs, which had no significant towns but which offered potential connections to Oxford and Gloucester.
In 1844, the Great Western Railway linked Oxford with London via Didcot and Reading, and other rail routes soon followed.

Sonning Cutting

When Maidenhead Railway Bridge was ready the line was extended to on 1 July 1839 and then through the deep Sonning Cutting to on 30 March 1840.
Sonning Cutting is on the original Great Western Railway built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Railway Air Services

It operated a network of road motor (bus) routes, was a part of the Railway Air Services, and owned ships, docks and hotels.
The railways were the "big four": London Midland & Scottish, London & North Eastern, Great Western Railway and Southern Railway.

Bristol

Bristol, EnglandCity of BristolBristol, UK
The Great Western Railway originated from the desire of Bristol merchants to maintain their city as the second port of the country and the chief one for American trade.
The city was associated with Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who designed the Great Western Railway between Bristol and London Paddington, two pioneering Bristol-built oceangoing steamships ( and ), and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Bristol and Exeter Railway

Bristol & Exeter RailwayB&ERBER
That was an independent line worked by the GWR, as was the Bristol and Exeter Railway (B&ER), the first section of which from Bristol to was opened on 14 June 1841.
It was allied with the Great Western Railway (GWR), which built its main line between London and Bristol, and in time formed part of a through route between London and Cornwall.

Kennet and Avon Canal

Kennet and Avon Canal CompanyKennet and Avon NavigationKennet & Avon Canal
In 1851, the GWR purchased the Kennet and Avon Canal, which was a competing carrier between London, Reading, Bath and Bristol.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the canal gradually fell into disuse after the opening of the Great Western Railway.

Cornwall Railway

CR
The South Devon Railway was completed in 1849, extending the broad gauge to Plymouth, whence the Cornwall Railway took it over the Royal Albert Bridge and into Cornwall in 1859 and, in 1867, it reached over the West Cornwall Railway which originally had been laid in 1852 with the standard gauge or "narrow gauge" as it was known at the time.
It was constantly beset with shortage of capital for the construction, and was eventually forced to sell its line to the dominant Great Western Railway.

Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway

Cheltenham & Great Western UnionCheltenham to Swindon
The section from Wootton Bassett Road to was opened on 31 May 1841, as was Swindon Junction station where the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (C&GWUR) to Cirencester connected.
In 1835 the Great Western Railway was incorporated, to build a trunk railway from London to Bristol.

Sonning Cutting railway accident

Railway accident at Sonning Cuttingone of the first railway disastersSonning Cutting
This accident prompted Parliament to pass the 1844 Railway Regulation Act requiring railway companies to provide better carriages for passengers.
A Great Western Railway (GWR) luggage train travelling from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads station entered Sonning Cutting.

South Wales Railway

South Wales line
The South Wales Railway had opened between and in 1850 and became connected to the GWR by Brunel's Chepstow Bridge in 1852.
It proposed a railway with capital of £2,500,000 to run from Standish, on the Cheltenham branch of the Great Western Railway where the Bristol and Gloucester line joins it.

Box Tunnel

Box railway tunnel
The GWR main line remained incomplete during the construction of the 1 mi Box Tunnel, which was ready for trains on 30 June 1841, after which trains ran the 152 mi from Paddington through to Bridgwater.
Box Tunnel was constructed between December 1838 and June 1841 for the Great Western Railway (GWR) under the direction of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Bath Spa railway station

BathBath SpaBath Spa station
Meanwhile, work had started at the Bristol end of the line, where the 11+1/2 mi section to Bath opened on 31 August 1840.
Bath Spa station was built in 1840 for the Great Western Railway by Brunel and is a Grade II* listed building.

Swindon railway station

SwindonSwindon stationSwindon (Wilts)
The section from Wootton Bassett Road to was opened on 31 May 1841, as was Swindon Junction station where the Cheltenham and Great Western Union Railway (C&GWUR) to Cirencester connected.
It is an important junction, where the former Great Western Railway line to and, the main line to, and the South Wales Main Line via diverge.

Taplow railway station

MaidenheadMaidenhead Bridge stationMaidenhead Riverside
The first 22+1/2 mi of line, from Paddington station in London to Maidenhead Bridge station, opened on 4 June 1838.
The station was the terminus of the Great Western Railway for just over a year until the opening of Maidenhead Railway Bridge and the line to on 1 July 1839.