Great Western Railway

Great Western Railway links London with SW England, South Wales and the Cotswolds and provides fast and frequent train services to key tourist destinations such as Windsor, Oxford, Bath, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Hereford, Gloucester, Plymouth and Penzance. We are currently renewing our fleet of trains and introducing new Intercity Express Trains on all of our mainline routes. These new trains provide First and Standard Class seats, free W-Fi and on-board entertainment, air-conditioning throughout and at-seat catering (complimentary in First Class).

GWR is also boasts a proud heritage. Our London to Bristol line was the first mainline route to be constructed anywhere in the World and can be traced back to the 1830’s. This historic route runs from Grade 1 listed Paddington station to its Grade 1 listed counterpart in Bristol – Temple Meads station and was the brainchild of the famous Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. At the age of just 26-years he pioneered the routes construction, which included the impressive bridge over the Thames at Maidenhead and the lengthy Box Tunnel to the East of Bath. He also built his original route for 7ft gauge track, or ‘broad gauge’ as it was to become known, but this was scrapped in favour of the Standard Gauge of 4ft 8 1/2″ in the 1860’s. Brunel was a visionary, and viewed the creation of the GWR as just being one part of a larger project to link London with New York, with his revolutionary steamships plying their way across the Atlantic Ocean. One of Brunel’s original ships can be visited in Bristol Docks – the SS Great Britain.

The impact of the creation of this first mainline is difficult for us to appreciate in this day and age. One of the best measures of its social impact can be seen in J.M.W.Turner’s painting ‘Rain, Steam and Speed – the Great Western Railway’ which was painted in 1844 and depicts a train racing over the Thames bridge at Maidenhead. The hare darts out of the way of the approaching train and represents the fact that the fastest animal in Britain was no match for the fantastic speeds achieved by the early GWR locomotives. This was truly the shock of the new. However, the creation of the GWR also delivered huge social changes with fresh dairy, fish and vegetables now able to reach the Capital in first class condition. This facilitated the opening of the first ‘Fish and Chip’ shops in London!

GWR’s heritage also extends to being the first one to see royal patronage, with Queen Victoria becoming a regular user of the line from Paddington to Windsor in her Royal Train. Today’s GWR passengers can still enjoy the comfort of her formal waiting room at Paddington which is now part of the First Class Lounge on Platform 1.

Clearly no mention of Paddington Station would be complete without mention of Paddington Bear, who arrived at the station in Michael Bond’s children’s book with a ‘Please look after this bear’ label tied to his trademark duffel coat. Having come from ‘darkest Peru’, the bear was adopted by the Brown family and duly named ‘Paddington’.

Today’s GWR provides fast and frequent train services to a part of the UK that contains many of the best sights and attractions that the country has to offer. Rather than sit in traffic on the motorway, let GWR transport your clients in comfort and give them more time at their chosen destination. Most of our stations are located in the heart of the town or city that they serve, and onward connections by taxi or coach are usually available. For groups, GWR can also assist with trying to source onward coach transport by using the services of our sister company – First Travel Solutions, the UK’s largest coach wholesaler.

In terms of working with the global travel industry, GWR offers special fares to tour operators and group operators. Just contact us for free advice on how you can incorporate GWR travel within your client’s plans. We intend to make the journey part of the enjoyment aspects of the client’s leisure experience and not just a means of travel.

Finally GWR offers a couple of products that could add that ‘special something’ to a client’s itinerary. Many of our week-day services offer on-board formal dining, with meals served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We source as many of our ingredients as we can from local suppliers and the dishes are also freshly prepared within the train’s kitchen, or ‘galley’ to give it’s correct name. Furthermore, food is generally served individually from the platter by the waiting staff, and of course we provide proper china crockery and steel cutlery.

We also run the nightly Sleeper train service each way between London and Penzance (except Saturdays), called the Night Riviera. The train offers a choice of single or double berth cabins and has a all-night bar car. We also provide a light breakfast on arrival at your chosen destination. The sleeper is a convenient was of combining a night’s sleep with the need to travel, but the only downside is that you miss the stunning scenery of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall en route!

Company Great Western RailwayHallUK & IrelandStand No.UKI100WebsiteGWR.comContactDavid Gardner - Head of SalesE-maildavid.a.gardner@gwr.comPhone +44 (0)771 886 2490