List of constituents of the Great Western Railway

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Great Western Railway
Coat of arms of the Great Western Railway.png
Coat-of-arms of the Great Western Railway, incorporating the shields, crests and mottoes of the cities of London (left) and Bristol (right)
1835 Act of Incorporation
1838 First train ran
1869–92 7 ft 14 in (2,140 mm)
changed to
4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
1903 Start of road motor services
1904 City of Truro sets speed record
1948 Nationalised
Constituent companies
See full list of constituents of the GWR
1854 Shrewsbury and Birmingham Ry
Shrewsbury and Chester Railway
1862 South Wales Railway
1863 West Midland Railway
1876 Bristol and Exeter Railway
South Devon Railway
1889 Cornwall Railway
1922 Rhymney Railway
Taff Vale Railway
Cambrian Railways
1923 Midland & S W Junction Railway
Successor organisation
1948 Western Region
of British Railways
Key locations
Headquarters Paddington station, London
Workshops Swindon
Major stations Birmingham Snow Hill
Bristol Temple Meads
Cardiff General
London Paddington
Reading General
Route mileage
Mileage shown as at end of year stated.[1][2][3]
1841 171 miles (275 km)
1863 1,106 miles (1,780 km)
1876 2,023 miles (3,256 km)
1899 2,504 miles (4,030 km)
1921 2,900 miles (4,700 km)
1924 3,797 miles (6,111 km)

The Great Western Railway (GWR) was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1835 and nationalised on 1 January 1948. During this time it amalgamated with, or purchased outright, many other railway companies. These are listed here in two groups. The early amalgamations (mostly between 1843 and 1900) often involved railway companies that were already being financially supported by the GWR. The Railways Act 1921 brought many new companies into the fold including many successful Welsh lines.


(date) – the date on which the company was amalgamated into, or purchased by, the GWR.
♠ – Companies that were already operated by or leased to the GWR or one of the other absorbed railways before amalgamation. Note: This list is incomplete.
‡ – Companies operating wholly or partly on the 7 ft 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm) broad gauge at the time that they combined with the GWR. The broad gauge was finally abandoned on 21 May 1892.

Early amalgamations and purchases[edit]

1921 Railways Act[edit]

The following companies were absorbed into the Great Western Railway as a result of the Railways Act 1921; however they were incorporated into the new larger business on the different dates shown.


  1. ^ MacDermot, E T (1927). "Appendix 1". History of the Great Western Railway, volume I 1833-1863. London: Great Western Railway.  Reprinted 1982, Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-0411-0
  2. ^ MacDermot, E T (1931). "Appendix 1". History of the Great Western Railway, volume II 1863-1921. London: Great Western Railway.  Reprinted 1982, Ian Allan, ISBN 0-711004-12-9
  3. ^ "A brief review of the Company's hundred years of business". Great Western Railway Magazine. Great Western Railway. 47 (9): 495–499. 1935. 
  • The Locomotives of the Great Western Railway, Part 3: Absorbed Engines 1854-1921. The Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. 1956. 

See also[edit]