07 July 2006

Gods Wonderful Railway

From Tha Guardian today
The average commuter probably doesn't particularly notice the tunnels, cuttings, bridges and stations on the London to Bristol railway line as they whizz by on the journey to the office.
But English Heritage yesterday put its weight behind a campaign to have the Great Western Railway recognised as a world heritage site, alongside the likes of the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and Stonehenge.
At a conference in Bristol, Sir Neil Cossons, chairman of English Heritage, said that the line, one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's greatest achievements, was a "breathtaking" monument to British endeavour.
He argued that it was not far-fetched to put "God's Wonderful Railway", as it is nicknamed, on the same level as the Taj Mahal. The railway was one of the unique contributions Britain had made to world culture, society and economy.
The backing of English Heritage comes as a boost to the many lovers of the route who believe it should receive global recognition.
At yesterday's conference, held as part of the celebrations marking the bicentenary of Brunel's birth, English Heritage launched a consultation with the public about how the bid for world heritage site status ought to proceed.
Some believe the site should include the GWR network through Somerset, Devon and Cornwall; others that it should be focused on the 112 miles from Paddington station in west London to Bristol Temple Meads. Construction of the line began in 1836, and was completed in 1841. Among the feats of engineering is Box tunnel in Wiltshire, which at the time of its construction was the longest railway tunnel in the world, and Wharncliffe viaduct at Hanwell, west London.

It would be mad to create this World Heritage Site without including Brunels wonderful bridge over the Tamar - surely one of the most recognisable landmarks on the whole route!

1 comment:

  1. The world ends as Bristol and never forget that!


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