Great Western Main Line

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.

Great Western Main Line
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

(Click to expandInteractive map)
Great Western Main Line
(under construction)
0 London Paddington
Paddington Goods
Royal Oak ( )
Mileage Yard Goods & Coal
Subway Junction
Westbourne Park ( )
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
West Ealing
9 Southall
11 Hayes & Harlington
Airport Junction
to Heathrow Airport stations
14 West Drayton
Staines and West Drayton Railway
to Colnbrook Cargo Centre
14¾ Iver
16¼ Langley
18½ Slough
21 Burnham
22½ Taplow
24¼ Maidenhead
31 Twyford
Sonning Cutting
1 mile (1.6 km) long
60 feet (18 m) deep
Reading East Junction
36 Reading
38¾ Tilehurst
41½ Pangbourne
44¾ Goring & Streatley
48½ Cholsey
Cholsey & Wallingford Railway
(bank holidays and weekends only)
53 Didcot Parkway
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 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]