22nd March 2021 · Western Enterprise

Presenter: Colin Brading

Colin Brading, our speaker was a lifelong railwayman who had received his training in the original Temple Meads building in Bristol. As such he was more than qualified to talk about the GWR. HE showed the audience of 99 via a selection of excellent images of the many facets of a railway that was in existence for more than 100 years.

The early years were dominated by the big personalities of Gooch and Brunel who between forged a railway that was bigger than most of the rest and unique in many ways. Colin pointed out that some of the early decisions, like using a track gauge of 7ft ¼in now seen as technical blind alleys were made as there was no technical precedent to act as a guide on how to build a railway.

Colin went on to describe the technical innovations introduced by the GWR as well as the initiatives to improve the lot of the workforce. It was always that little bit different which ultimately led to the adoption of diesel hydraulics locos introduced in the 1950s and 60s. Everyone went away afterwards knowing more about the GWR and why it is different, but not necessarily better.