Visit The Remains Of Brunel's Railway At Paddington

M@
By M@ Last edited 40 months ago
Visit The Remains Of Brunel's Railway At Paddington
The two rows of stones show evidence of the two gauges (width between rails) used on the railway. Brunel's wide gauge used the outer stones, while the later narrow gauge made use of the inner paving.
The two rows of stones show evidence of the two gauges (width between rails) used on the railway. Brunel's wide gauge used the outer stones, while the later narrow gauge made use of the inner paving.
End of the line...for now. Further remains are likely to be excavated from the rubble.
End of the line...for now. Further remains are likely to be excavated from the rubble.
Old rail tracks.
Old rail tracks.
Inside the inspection pit.
Inside the inspection pit.
An old gas pipe running along the site.
An old gas pipe running along the site.
Looking into a drain, which communicates with the River Westbourne.
Looking into a drain, which communicates with the River Westbourne.
Beneath this drain hatch, a small sewer carried trackside water down to the River Westbourne.
Beneath this drain hatch, a small sewer carried trackside water down to the River Westbourne.
A decayed wooden railway sleeper from Brunel's time.
A decayed wooden railway sleeper from Brunel's time.
A newly exposed train inspection shed to the west of Brunel's shed.
A newly exposed train inspection shed to the west of Brunel's shed.
Exposed train shed.
Exposed train shed.
Excavations continue.
Excavations continue.

Last week, archaeologists working on a Paddington Crossrail site revealed the presence of Victorian rail infrastructure, buried for over a century. Many of the remains were built during the railway's earliest days, under the superintendence of one Isambard Kingdom Brunel. We were lucky enough to get a site tour just days after a new section of the site had been uncovered.

The ongoing works, close to Westbourne Park station, have found remains of a 200m-long train inspection shed from Brunel's time, plus further infrastructure from a later period. The archaeology team also uncovered evidence from the so-called 'Gauge Wars', a mid-19th century battle to establish the standard track width on the railways. Track beds both for Brunel's 7-foot wide gauge and the latterly adopted narrow gauge can be seen side-by-side.

The site will be open to the public for archaeologist-led tours on Sunday 5 October. Entry is free, though strictly ticketed on a first-come, first-served basis via Crossrail's eventbright.

Last Updated 01 October 2014

LJ

Ultimately Brunel was right about the gauge but they went for the cheaper option and now it is too late to change.

Brian

Surely "narrow" gauge is one metre track; most European railways are now "Standard" gauge - 4 ft 8 1/2 inches?