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The magnificent engineering of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s original Great Western Railway is best appreciated from the driver’s cab, in this case an InterCity 125 High Speed Train. Filmed in 1993, we proceed through the outskirts of London at an exhilarating 125mph, over the Wharncliffe viaduct at Brent (where construction of the GWR actually began in 1835) across the Thames at Maidenhead (the bridge that was expected to fall down) through the expansive Sonning Cutting to arrive at the ‘hub’ station of Reading.
Next stop is Swindon, followed by a non-stop run to Bath through the famous Box Tunnel (the last section to be opened, well behind schedule) before arriving at Bristol Temple Meads. Here we see inside Brunel’s original terminus, with its wooden overall roof, an amazing survivor through sheer quirk of fate.
There then follows a 50% condensed run down the old Bristol and Exeter Railway, via Cogload Junction, Taunton, the famous Wellington Bank up to White Ball Tunnel and, finally, Exeter St Davids.
Narrated by the late Anton Rodgers (popular for many acting roles, including ‘Fresh Fields’).