Great Western Railway (GWR) is proudly showcasing the history of their network and celebrating the rich heritage of Britain’s railways with brand new animated images
By delving into the historical railway image archives and commissioning a photographer to capture the stations in their present-day glory, GWR has successfully showcased the gradual development of Britain’s railways over the past 70 years and presented them in a series of innovative visuals.
In 1835, a collaboration between a group of businessmen and the brilliant young engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel started the story of the Great Western Railway.
GWR opened the original Grandpont terminus station in Oxford in 1844 on what is now the corner of Marlborough Road and Western Road. A new site was opened in 1852 and the original closed in 1872 after operating as a goods station.
The current station was rebuilt in 1970 by British Railways. A new main building and footbridge was then added in 1990. New platforms and a new service to London Marylebone (Chiltern Railways) were launched in 2016.
From the early days of Brunel’s engineering excellence to the introduction of electrification from Paddington, GWR’s network is known for its iconic railway stations. London Paddington was built with a stunning wrought iron and glass roof which remains to this day although in the 1990s the glass was replaced by polycarbonate glazing panels.
Bath Spa station is a Grade II listed building. It was designed by Brunel himself and constructed in 1840. Luckily, it still retains many of its original features including its Tudor style station building and curving gables. The length of the platforms increased in 2017 to accommodate longer trains.
The station was first opened in 1846 by the South Devon Railway Company. Originally called simply ‘Newton’ it changed its name to Newton Abbott in 1877, a year after it became part of the Great Western Railway. In 1940 the station was bombed and one of the platforms had to be rebuilt. This year has seen significant track replacement between Newton Abbot and Plymouth.
Reading railway station was originally the last stop on the main line when the railway opened in 1840. In 2014 the station underwent extensive reconstruction and acquired five new platforms, two entrances and a new bridge. This increased the efficiency of the station which prior to this had been a bottleneck for services. With the introduction of Crossrail, Reading will become an even more important link in the railway network.
Read more about the history of the Great Western Railway here.
My report of a trip in the 1970s contains more historical photos of the GWR network.
Nick Thompson says
Interesting article, and good graphics.