An Outline History
This page will carry general background historical information about the former Great Western Railway.
The GWR began as a railway to link Bristol to London, but in due course it absorbed or incorporated many other railway companies which served other parts of the West Country, including the Bristol & Exeter Railway, the South Devon Railway, the Cornwall Railway and the West Cornwall Railway. Perhaps its most well-known feature was the use of the famous 7' 0¼" 'broad gauge' for its trackwork until almost the end of the 19th Century. It was the only major railway company to survive the 1923 Grouping of the railways in Great Britain virtually unchanged with its original title. In 1948 it was incorporated into the new nationalised British Railways and became BR Western Region.
More information will be added to this page in due course. In the meantime, please see the GWR Index for details of GWR-related subjects already on RailWest.