Great Western main line

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Great Western main line
Railway bridge Maidenhead.jpeg
Maidenhead Railway Bridge carrying the line over the River Thames.
OwnerNetwork Rail
TerminiLondon Paddington
Bristol Temple Meads
TypeCommuter rail, Higher-speed rail[1]
SystemNational Rail
Rolling stock
Opened30 June 1841 (complete line)
Line length118 mi 19 ch (190.28 km)
Number of tracksFour (London to Didcot)
Two (Didcot to Bristol)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Old gauge7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm)
Electrification25 kV 50 hz AC OLE
Operating speed125 mph (201 km/h) maximum
SignallingAWS, TPWS, ATP
Route map
Great Western Main Line map.png
(Click to expandInteractive map)
Great Western Main Line
(under construction)
0 London Paddington TfL Rail Circle line (London Underground) District Line Hammersmith & City Line Bakerloo Line enlarge…
Paddington Goods
Royal Oak (Circle line (London Underground) Hammersmith & City Line)
Mileage Yard Goods & Coal
Subway Junction
Westbourne Park (Circle line (London Underground) Hammersmith & City Line)
Portobello Junction
Notting Hill Sidings
Kensal Green Gasworks siding
West London Junction
Old Oak Common Goods
Old Oak West Junction
Willesden & Acton Brick Co. siding
Acton Main Line
Ealing Broadway Central line (London Underground) District Line TfL Rail enlarge…
West Ealing TfL Rail
9 Southall
11 Hayes & Harlington TfL Rail
Airport Junction
to Heathrow Airport stations
14 West Drayton
Staines and West Drayton Railway
to Colnbrook Cargo Centre
14¾ Iver
16¼ Langley
18½ Slough TfL Rail
21 Burnham
22½ Taplow
24¼ Maidenhead TfL Rail
31 Twyford TfL Rail
Sonning Cutting
1 mile (1.6 km) long
60 feet (18 m) deep
Reading East Junction
36 Reading TfL Rail enlarge…
38¾ Tilehurst
41½ Pangbourne
44¾ Goring & Streatley
48½ Cholsey
Cholsey & Wallingford Railway
(bank holidays and weekends only)
Heritage railway
53 Didcot Parkway enlarge…
Didcot Railway Centre Didcot Railway Centre
Wantage Road
77¼ Swindon
Christian Malford Halt
94 Chippenham
Thingley Junction
Box Tunnel
2939 yd
2687 m
Box (Mill Lane) Halt
Bathford Halt
Bathford Bridge
over River Avon
Bathampton Junction
Hampton Row Halt
107 Bath Spa
108 Oldfield Park
Twerton Tunnel
Saltford Tunnel
113¾ Keynsham
St Anne's Park No 3 Tunnel
1017 yd
930 m
St Anne's Park No 2 Tunnel
154 yd
141 m
St Anne's Park
North Somerset Junction
116½ Bristol Temple Meads
Bristol West Junction
Temple Meads Goods

The Great Western main line (GWML) is a main line railway in England, that runs westwards from London Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads. It connects to other main lines such as those from Reading to Penzance and Swindon to Swansea.[2] Opened in 1841, it was the original route of the first Great Western Railway which was merged into the Western Region of British Railways in 1948. It is now a part of the national rail system managed by Network Rail with the majority of passenger services provided by the current Great Western Railway franchise.

The line has recently been electrified along most of its length. The eastern section from Paddington to Hayes & Harlington was electrified in 1998. Work to electrify the remainder of the route started in 2011 with an initial aim to complete the work all the way to Bristol by 2016,[3] but in that year the section through Bath to Bristol Temple Meads was deferred with no date set for completion because costs had tripled.[4][5]


The line was built by the Great Western Railway and engineered by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as a dual track line using a wider 7 ft (2,134 mm) broad gauge and was opened in stages between 1838 and 1841. The final section, between Chippenham and Bath, was opened on completion of the Box Tunnel in June 1841.[6]

The alignment was so level and straight it was nicknamed "Brunel's billiard table". It was supplemented with a third rail for dual gauge operation, allowing standard gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) trains to also operate on the route, in stages between 1854 and 1875. Dual gauge was introduced as follows: London to Reading (October 1861), Reading to Didcot (December 1856), Didcot to Swindon (February 1872), Swindon to Thingley Junction, Chippenham (June 1874), Thingley Junction to Bathampton (March 1875), Bathampton to Bristol (June 1874), Bristol station area (May 1854). The broad gauge remained in use until 1892. Evidence of the original broad gauge can still be seen at many places where bridges are a bit wider than usual, or where tracks are ten feet apart instead of the usual six.[citation needed]

The original dual tracks were widened to four in places, mainly in the east half, between 1877 and 1899: Paddington to Southall (October 1877), Southall to West Drayton (November 1878), West Drayton to Slough (June 1879), Slough to east side of Maidenhead Bridge (September 1884), Maidenhead Bridge to Reading (June 1893), Reading station (1899), Reading to Pangbourne (July 1893), Pangbourne to Cholsey and Moulsford (June 1894), Cholsey and Moulsford to Didcot (December 1892); also short sections between Didcot and Swindon, and at Bristol.[citation needed]

Following the Slough rail accident of 1900 in which five passengers were killed, improved vacuum braking systems were used on locomotives and passenger rolling stock and Automatic Train Control (ATC) was introduced in 1908.

Further widenings of the line took place between 1903 and 1910 and more widening work took place between 1931 and 1932.[7]

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Great Western Railway was taken into government control, as were most major railways in Britain. The companies were reorganised after the war into the "big four" companies, of which the Great Western Railway was one. The railways returned to direct government control during World War II before being nationalised to form British Railways (BR) in 1948.[relevant?]

The line speed was upgraded in the 1970s to support the introduction of the InterCity 125 (HST).[8]

In 1977 the Parliamentary Select Committee on Nationalised Industries recommended considering electrification of more of Britain's rail network, and by 1979 BR presented a range of options that included electrifying the line from Paddington to Swansea by 2000.[9] Under the 1979–90 Conservative governments that succeeded the 1976–79 Labour government, the proposal was not implemented.

In the mid 1990s, the line between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington was electrified as part of the Heathrow Express project.[10]

In August 2008 it was announced that a number of speed limits on the relief lines between Reading and London had been raised, so that 86% of the line could be used at 90 miles per hour (140 km/h).[11]

Partial electrification by 2019 allowed replacement of InterCity 125 and Class 180 sets by new Hitachi Super Express high speed trains – the Class 800s and Class 802s. It also allowed the introduction of Class 387 EMUs by GWR on shorter-distance services.[12]


The route of the GWML includes dozens of listed buildings and structures, including tunnel portals, bridges and viaducts, stations, and associated hotels.[13] Part of the route passes through and contributes to the Georgian Architecture of the City of Bath World Heritage Site; the path through Sydney Gardens has been described as a "piece of deliberate railway theatre by Brunel without parallel".[14] Grade I listed structures on the line include London Paddington, Wharncliffe Viaduct, the 1839 Tudor gothic River Avon Bridge in Bristol, and Bristol Temple Meads station.[15]


Communities served by the Great Western main line include West London (including Acton, Ealing, Hanwell, Southall, Hayes, Harlington and West Drayton); Iver; Langley; Slough; Burnham; Taplow; Maidenhead; Twyford; Reading; Tilehurst; Pangbourne; Goring-on-Thames; Streatley; Cholsey; Didcot; Swindon; Chippenham; Bath; Keynsham; and Bristol.

From London to Didcot, the line follows the Thames Valley, crossing the River Thames three times, including on the Maidenhead Railway Bridge. Between Chippenham and Bath the line passes through Box Tunnel, and then follows the valley of the River Avon.

A junction west of Swindon allows trains to reach Bristol by an alternative route along the South Wales Main Line. Other diversionary routes exist between Chippenham and Bath via the Wessex Main Line, although this involves a reversal at Bradford Junction; and from Reading to Bath via the Berks and Hants Line.


Main line and local services are provided by Great Western Railway (GWR). The stations served by trains between London Paddington and Bristol Temple Meads are: Reading, Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Chippenham, and Bath Spa. Some trains between London and Bristol do not call at Didcot Parkway.

Fast trains from Paddington to London Heathrow Airport are operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings as the Heathrow Express. Local services on this route are operated by TFL Rail.

CrossCountry operate trains between Reading and Oxford, using the Great Western main line as far as Didcot and South Western Railway operate a limited number of trains between Bath and Bristol.

Great Western Railway also operate a train between London Paddington – Cardiff Central every 30 minutes, with hourly extensions to Swansea. At Swansea/Cardiff there is a connecting Transport for Wales boat train to/from Fishguard Harbour for the Stena Line ferry to Rosslare Europort in Ireland. An integrated timetable is offered between London Paddington and Rosslare Europort with through ticketing available.[16] Daytime and nocturnal journeys are offered in both directions daily (including Sundays). Additionally, 2–3 Great Western Railway trains continue to Pembroke Dock on weekends during the Summer season to connect with ferry services to Ireland.


St James Railway Bridge, Bath

Between London and Didcot there are four tracks, two for each direction. The main lines are mostly used by the faster trains and are on the south side of the route. The relief lines on the north side are used for slower services and those that call at all stations, as only London Paddington, Slough, Maidenhead, Twyford, Reading and Didcot Parkway stations have platforms on the main lines (although a few others have main line platforms that can be used in an emergency). Between Didcot and Royal Wootton Bassett, a series of passing loops allow fast trains to overtake slower ones. This section is signalled for bi-directional running on each line but this facility is usually only used during engineering working or when there is significant disruption to traffic in one direction.[17]

The summit of the line is at Swindon, and falls away in each direction: Swindon is 270 feet (82 m) above Paddington, and 292 feet (89 m) above Bristol Temple Meads. The maximum gradient between Paddington and Didcot is 1 in 1320 (0.75 or 0.075 %); between Didcot and Swindon it is 1 in 660 (1.5 ‰ or 0.15%) but west of Swindon, gradients as steep as 1 in 100 (10 ‰ or 1%) are found in places, such as Box Tunnel and to the east of Dauntsey.[18][19]

The line is electrified between Paddington and Langley Burrell (just east of Chippenham) using 25 kV AC overhead supply lines; the Reading to Taunton line (as far as Newbury) and the South Wales Main Line (as far as Cardiff Central) are also electrified.

The line speed is 125 miles per hour (201 km/h).[20] The relief lines from Paddington to Didcot are limited to 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) as far as Reading, and then 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) to Didcot. Lower restrictions apply at various locations.[17] The line is one of two Network Rail-owned lines equipped with the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, the other being the Chiltern Main Line.[21]

Tunnels, viaducts and major bridges[edit]

Major civil engineering structures on the Great Western main line include the following.[22]

Tunnels, viaducts and major bridges on the Great Western main line
Railway structure Length Distance from London Paddington Location
Subway Tunnel (LU) 117 yards (107 m) 0 miles 67 chains (1.3 km) – 0 miles 73 chains (1.5 km) West of Royal Oak
Spring Bridge Road Car Park Tunnel 121 yards (111 m) 5 miles 70 chains (9.5 km) – 5 miles 76 chains (9.6 km) West of Ealing Broadway
Hanwell Viaduct 44 yards (40 m) 7 miles 35 chains (12.0 km) – 7 miles 38 chains (12.0 km) West of Hanwell
Wharncliffe Viaduct 297 yards (272 m) 7 miles 43 chains (12.1 km) – 7 miles 56 chains (12.4 km)
Hanwell Bridge 4 chains (80 m) 8 miles 00 chains (12.9 km) – 8 miles 04 chains (13.0 km)
Maidenhead Viaduct (River Thames) 237 yards (217 m) 23 miles 21 chains (37.4 km) – 23 miles 32 chains (37.7 km) East of Maidenhead
Seven Arch Viaduct 68 yards (62 m) 31 miles 19 chains (50.3 km) – 31 miles 22 chains (50.3 km) West of Twyford
River Loddon Viaduct 70 yards (64 m) 31 miles 43 chains (50.8 km) – 31 miles 46 chains (50.8 km)
Kennet Bridge (Kennet & Avon Canal) 4 chains (80 m) 34 miles 77 chains (56.3 km) – 35 miles 01 chain (56.3 km) East of Reading
Gatehampton Viaduct (River Thames) 99 yards (91 m) 44 miles 00 chains (70.8 km) – 44 miles 05 chains (70.9 km) East of Goring & Streatley
Moulsford Viaduct (River Thames) 147 yards (134 m) 47 miles 27 chains (76.2 km) – 47 miles 34 chains (76.3 km) East of Cholsey
River Avon Viaduct 72 yards (66 m) 90 miles 77 chains (146.4 km) – 91 miles 00 chains (146.5 km) East of Chippenham
Chippenham Viaduct 90 yards (82 m) 94 miles 08 chains (151.4 km) – 94 miles 13 chains (151.5 km) West of Chippenham
Box Tunnel 1 mile 1,452 yards (2.937 km) 99 miles 12 chains (159.6 km) – 100 miles 78 chains (162.5 km) Between Chippenham and Bath Spa
Middle Hill Tunnel 198 yards (181 m) 101 miles 39 chains (163.3 km) – 101 miles 48 chains (163.5 km)
Sydney Gardens East Tunnel 77 yards (70 m) 106 miles 24 chains (171.1 km) – 106 miles 28 chains (171.2 km) East of Bath Spa
Sydney Gardens West Tunnel 99 yards (91 m) 106 miles 29 chains (171.2 km) – 106 miles 33 chains (171.3 km)
Dolemeads Viaduct 355 yards (325 m) 106 miles 49 chains (171.6 km) – 106 miles 60 chains (171.8 km)
Arches and St James Viaduct 600 yards (550 m) 106 miles 68 chains (172.0 km) – 107 miles 20 chains (172.6 km) West of Bath Spa
Twerton Viaduct 638 yards (583 m) 108 miles 29 chains (174.4 km) – 108 miles 58 chains (175.0 km) Between Oldfield Park and Keynsham
Twerton Short Tunnel 45 yards (41 m) 108 miles 70 chains (175.2 km) – 108 miles 72 chains (175.3 km)
Twerton Long Tunnel 264 yards (241 m) 109 miles 03 chains (175.5 km) – 109 miles 15 chains (175.7 km)
Saltford Tunnel 176 yards (161 m) 111 miles 57 chains (179.8 km) – 111 miles 65 chains (179.9 km)
St Annes Park Arches Viaduct 4 chains (80 m) 115 miles 25 chains (185.6 km) – 115 miles 29 chains (185.7 km) Between Keynsham

and Bristol Temple Meads

St Annes Park No.3 Tunnel (or Foxes Wood Tunnel) 1,017 yards (930 m) 115 miles 58 chains (186.2 km) – 116 miles 25 chains (187.2 km)
St Annes Park or (Bristol) No.2 Tunnel 154 yards (141 m) 116 miles 41 chains (187.5 km) – 116 miles 48 chains (187.6 km)
Main River Viaduct (River Avon) 108 yards (99 m) c. 117 miles 24 chains (188.8 km)
Main Down Viaduct (River Avon) 141 yards (129 m) 117 miles 21 chains (188.7 km) – 117 miles 27 chains (188.8 km)
The Feeder 117 miles 51 chains (189.3 km)
Floating Harbour 3 chains (60 m) 118 miles 16 chains (190.2 km) – 118 miles 19 chains (190.3 km)

Line-side monitoring equipment[edit]

Line-side train monitoring equipment includes hot axle box detectors (HABD) and 'Wheelchex' wheel impact load detectors (WILD), sited as follows.[22][23]

Line-side monitoring equipment on the Great Western main line
Name & Type Line Location (distance from Paddington)
Maidenhead HABD Up Relief 24 miles 03 chains (38.7 km)
Up Main 24 miles 10 chains (38.8 km)
Waltham WILD Up Relief, Down Relief, Up Main, Down Main 26 miles 21 chains (42.3 km)
Twyford HABD Down Relief, Down Main 32 miles 02 chains (51.5 km)
Basildon HABD Up Relief, Down Relief, Up Main

(Down Main disconnected December 2016)

43 miles 42 chains (70.0 km)
Cholsey WILD Up Relief, Down Relief, Up Main, Down Main 49 miles 05 chains (79.0 km)
Wantage Road HABD Up Main 59 miles 57 chains (96.1 km)
Bourton HABD Down Main 72 miles 20 chains (116.3 km)
Studley HABD Up Main 81 miles 40 chains (131.2 km)
Twerton HABD Down Main 108 miles 60 chains (175.0 km)

Planned developments[edit]

Since 2011, the Great Western has been undergoing a £5 billion modernisation by Network Rail.[24]

Reading railway station saw a major redevelopment with new platforms, a new entrance, footbridge and lifts; the work was completed a year ahead of schedule[25] in July 2014.[26][27]

Electrification from Airport Junction to the west[edit]

The Crossrail project covered electrification of the line from Airport Junction to Maidenhead and, following a number of announcements and delays, the government announced in March 2011 that it would electrify the line as far as Bristol Temple Meads.[28][29]

Following delays to the original plan, and a major escalation of costs, the Conservative government announced in July 2017[30] that, for the time being, electrification would only be completed as far as Thingley Junction, two miles (3.2 km) west of Chippenham. Electrification of other lines, including Bristol Parkway to Temple Meads and Didcot to Oxford was also postponed. The government argued that bi-mode trains would fill in the gaps pending completion of electrification, although the Class 800 trains are slower in diesel mode than under electric power. Electrification as far as Didcot Parkway was completed in December 2017, and to Thingley Junction in December 2019.[citation needed]

Other proposals[edit]

Network Rail plans to install European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in-cab signalling on the Great Western line;[31][32] this is a pre-requisite for the Super Express trains to run at 140 mph (225 km/h).[33] Some or all of the resignalling work will be undertaken during the electrification work.[31]

Further capacity improvements are also scheduled at Swindon, adding to recent changes and the new Platform 4.

Crossrail services are planned to terminate at Reading. Some of the current suburban services into London Paddington are planned to be transferred to the new Crossrail service, which will free up some surface-level capacity at Paddington.[31]

Other more distant aspirations include resignalling and capacity improvements at Reading; the provision of four continuous tracks between Didcot and Swindon (including a grade-separated junction at Milton, where the westbound relief line switches from the north side of the line to the south); and resignalling between Bath and Bristol to enable trains to run closer together.

Access to Heathrow Airport from the west remains an aspiration and the 2009 Heathrow Airtrack scheme, abandoned in 2011, proposed a route south of the Great Western main line to link the airport with Reading. Plans for electrification of the line will make it easier to access Heathrow from Reading, since lack of electrification between Reading station and Airport Junction (near West Drayton station) was a limiting factor.[31] Plans under consideration in 2014 included new tunnels between Heathrow and Langley.[34]

Network Rail intends to replace the ATP system with ETCS – Level 2[35] from 2017 to 2035 along with the introduction of the new IEP trains.

Signalling Solutions is to resignal the 12 miles (19 km) from Paddington to West Drayton, including the Airport branch, as part of the Crossrail project.[36]

Calls for station reopenings[edit]

There are calls for the reintroduction of Corsham station due to recent growth of the town.[37] The original station was closed to passengers in 1965.

A local group is campaigning for the reopening of Saltford station between Bath and Bristol, to coincide with electrification.[38]

There have also been calls to reopen the former Wantage Road station.[39] Oxfordshire County Council included a proposal for a new station to serve Wantage and Grove in their 2015–2031 local transport plan.[40]

Major incidents[edit]

  • Slough rail accident – 16 June 1900 – An express train from Paddington to Falmouth Docks ran through two sets of signals at danger and collided with a local train heading for Windsor. Five passengers were killed and 35 seriously injured.
  • Ealing rail crash – 19 December 1973 – A train from Paddington to Oxford derailed after a loose battery box cover on the Class 52 "Western" locomotive hauling the train struck lineside equipment, causing a set of points to move under the train. Ten passengers were killed and 94 injured.
  • Southall rail crash – 19 September 1997 – An InterCity 125 service from Swansea to Paddington, operated by Great Western Trains, failed to stop at a red signal and collided with a freight train entering Southall goods yard. Seven people were killed and 139 were injured. The incident severely damaged public confidence in the safety of the rail system. It was found that the train's AWS was faulty, and the driver had been distracted (he had bent down to pack his bag). Great Western Trains was fined £1.5 million for violations of health and safety law in connection with the accident.
  • Ladbroke Grove rail crash – 5 October 1999 – A Thames Trains service from Paddington to Bedwyn passed a signal at danger at the gantry protecting a main set of (crossover) points between the one-way and bi-directionally used lines. The train ran the wrong way down the line and was hit head-on by a First Great Western HST service from Cheltenham Spa to Paddington at a closing speed of approximately 130 miles per hour (210 km/h). 31 people died, including both drivers, with more than 520 people injured. Thames Trains was fined £2 million for violations of health and safety law.[41] Network Rail pleaded guilty to charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in relation to the accident. It was subsequently fined £4 million and was also ordered to pay £225,000 in costs.[42]

Rolling stock[edit]

Commuter trains[edit]

Class Image Type Top speed Cars per set Number Operator Routes Built
mph km/h
Class 158 Bathpool - GWR 158763+158747 Cardiff service.JPG Diesel Multiple Unit 90 145 2 22 Great Western Railway
South Western Railway
GWR: Bristol Temple Meads to Cardiff Central, Portsmouth, Penzance and Weymouth
SWR: Bristol Temple Meads to Salisbury and London Waterloo
3 19
Class 159 Bradford-on-Avon - SWR 159007 London Waterloo service.JPG Diesel Multiple Unit 90 145 3 30 South Western Railway SWR: Bristol Temple Meads to Salisbury and London Waterloo 1992-93
Class 165 Oxford - GWR 165116 leaving for Reading.JPG Diesel Multiple Unit 90 145 2 20 Great Western Railway

From Bristol Temple Meads to: Portsmouth, Severn Beach, Great Malvern, Southampton Central, Cardiff Central and Weymouth
From Reading to: Gatwick Airport via Redhill, Basingstoke, Didcot Parkway and Oxford
From Slough to: Windsor & Eton Central
From Maidenhead to: Marlow via Bourne End
From Twyford to: Henley-on-Thames

3 16
Class 166 Caerdydd Canolog - GWR 166219.JPG Diesel Multiple Unit 90 145 3 21 Great Western Railway GWR: From Bristol Temple Meads to Cardiff Central, Great Malvern, Portsmouth, Bristol Parkway, Taunton, Severn Beach, and Weymouth
Class 345 Ealing Broadway - TfL 345015 Paddington service.JPG Electric Multiple Unit 90 145 9 70 TfL Rail London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 4 and Reading 2015-19
Class 387 Reading - GWR 387132+387143 Didcot service.JPG Electric Multiple Unit 110 177 4 45 Great Western Railway London Paddington to Didcot Parkway 2016–17

High Speed Trains[edit]

Class Image Type Top speed Cars per set Number Operator Routes Built
mph km/h
Class 220 CrossCountry Class 220, 220004, platform 3, Stockport railway station (geograph 4525172).jpg DEMU 125 201 4 34 CrossCountry Bristol Temple Meads going south to: Exeter, Paignton, Plymouth and Penzance
Bristol Temple Meads going north to: Birmingham New Street, Manchester, York, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen
Reading to: Oxford, Birmingham New Street, Southampton Central and Bournemouth
Class 221 CrossCountry Class 221, 221124, platform 5, Manchester Piccadilly railway station (geograph 4512037).jpg 125 201 5 22
Class 387 Reading - GWR 387132+387143 Didcot service.JPG Electric Multiple Unit 110 177 4 12 Heathrow Express London Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 5 2016-17
Class 800 Norton Fitzwarren - GWR 800003 Exeter to London.JPG Bi-Mode Multiple Unit 140 225 5 36 Great Western Railway London Paddington to:
  • – Oxford, Bedwyn, Worcester Shrub Hill, Great Malvern, Hereford
  • – Cardiff Central, Swansea, Carmarthen
  • – Bristol Temple Meads, Weston-super-Mare
  • – Cheltenham Spa, Taunton, Paignton
9 21
Class 802 Bathpool - GWR 802110 London service.JPG Bi-Mode Multiple Unit 140 225 5 22 Great Western Railway London Paddington to:
  • – Exeter St Davids, Plymouth, Penzance
  • – Oxford, Bedwyn, Worcester Shrub Hill, Great Malvern, Hereford
9 14

Sleeper Trains[edit]

Class Image Type Top speed Number Operator Routes Built
mph km/h
Class 57 St Philip's Marsh - GWR 57603.JPG Diesel locomotive 95 152 4 Great Western Railway London Paddington to Penzance 1998-2004
Mark 3 Long Rock Sidings - GWR Mk3 RFB 10219.JPG Passenger coach 125 200 18 1975-88


The reference for the route map diagram is:- Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. pp. 113, 115a, 116, 118b, 118d, 120, 124–25. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bowen, Douglas John (1 December 2014). "Hitachi Rail Europe taps Huber+Suhner". Railway Age. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Western Route specification" (PDF).
  3. ^ Network Rail (June 2011). "Modernising the Great Western" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 April 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Great Western electrification projects deferred". Railway Gazette International. 8 November 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  6. ^ Crittall, Elizabeth, ed. (1959). "Victoria County History: Wiltshire: Vol 4: Railways". British History Online. University of London. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ Sanderson et al. 2012, p. 6.
  8. ^ Collins, R.J. (1978). "High speed track on the Western Region of British Railways". Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Institution of Civil Engineers. 64 (2): 207–225. doi:10.1680/iicep.1978.2755.
  9. ^ Anonymous (Winter 1979). Railway Electrification. British Railways Board (Central Publicity Unit). pp. 0–2, 8.
  10. ^ "Heathrow Express". Railway Technology. Retrieved 30 June 2020.
  11. ^ "First Great Western Customer Panel" (PDF). First Great Western. Retrieved 24 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Derby to build new trains for First Great Western". Railnews. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  13. ^ Sanderson et al. 2012.
  14. ^ Sanderson et al. 2012, MLN1 10605, MLN1 10605, MLN1 10605, MLN1 10610, MLN1 10614, MLN1 10618.
  15. ^ Sanderson et al. 2012, MLN1 0000 , MLN1 0742, MLN1 11725, MLN1 11826.
  16. ^ "Sail and Rail to Britain – Train and Ferry Travel to England & Wales – Stena Line". Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  17. ^ a b "Route Plans 2007 Route 13 Great Western Main Line" (PDF). Network Rail. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  18. ^ MacDermot 1927, pp. 124, 127.
  19. ^ Gradient Profiles 2003, figs. W1, W6.
  20. ^ "About Great Western Main Line". Agility Trains. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Great Western Main Line ATP Pilot Scheme". Train Testing. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  22. ^ a b Bridge, Mike (2010). Railway Track Diagrams Book 3 Western. Bradford on Avon: Tackmaps. pp. 1–5. ISBN 978-0-9549866-6-7.
  23. ^ "Railway Codes: HABD and WILD equipment".
  24. ^ Network Rail 2011, p. 8.
  25. ^ "Reading rail station revamp 'a year ahead of schedule'". BBC. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  26. ^ "£425M transformation planned at Reading".
  27. ^ Queen opens revamped Reading station BBC News 17 July 2014
  28. ^ "Great Western electrification and IEP to go ahead". Railnews. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  29. ^ Network Rail 2011, p. 9.
  30. ^ correspondent, Gwyn Topham Transport (20 July 2017). "Grayling sparks fury by scrapping rail electrification plans". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  31. ^ a b c d "DfT Rail Electrification paper" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 August 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  32. ^ Network Rail 2011, p. 11.
  33. ^ See Hitachi Super Express article
  34. ^ "Heathrow rail link plan unveiled by Network Rail". BBC News. BBC. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  35. ^ "Network Rail Train Infrastructure Interface Specification" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 November 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  36. ^ Nigel Harris, ed. (1–14 June 2011). "GWML signalling contract signed". Rail Magazine (671): 17.
  37. ^ Hicks, Amber (30 October 2014). "Corsham Station campaigners meet Department for Transport officials". Wiltshire Times. Newsquest (Oxfordshire and Wiltshire Ltd.). Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  38. ^ "Rail-ly good news over station plan for Saltford". Bath Chronicle. Local World. 13 December 2014. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  39. ^
  40. ^ Connecting Oxfordshire: Local Transport Plan 2015–2031
  41. ^ "Thames Trains fined £2m for Paddington crash". The Guardian. 5 April 2004.
  42. ^ "Paddington crash prompts £4m fine". BBC News Online. 30 March 2007.


Further reading[edit]

  • Pre-grouping Atlas and Gazetteer. Shepperton: Ian Allan Limited. 1976. ISBN 0-7110-0320-3.
  • MacDermot, E T (1931). History of the Great Western Railway, volume II 1863-1921. London: Great Western Railway.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata