Skip to main content


Great Western Railway
Society: ASCE Main Category: Civil Sub Category: Roads & Rails Era: 1830-1839 DateCreated: 1838 Temple Meads Station Bristol State: Zip: BS1 Country: UK Website: Creator: Brunel, Isambard Kingdom

In the early 1830s, the merchants of Bristol, long dissatisfied with their communication with London, began to wonder if the new railroad technology might be a solution to their problem. The Bristol Chamber of Commerce, the Merchant Adventurers and other local industrial bodies formed a committee in 1833 to discuss the ambitious proposal of laying a railway to London. Matters progressed swiftly. Money was advanced and the search for a first-class engineer to guide the effort.


Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Ingy The Wingy (CC BY-ND 2.0) Image Caption: Great Western Railway lower quadrant semaphore signals; 1952 Era_date_from: 1838
Subscribe to 2005


We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support America's only magazine of the history of engineering and innovation, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to Invention & Technology.


Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.