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History of the Line’s Operators

What is today the Bodmin heritage railway was originally a branch of the Great Western Railway (GWR), running from Bodmin Road (today’s Bodmin Parkway) to Bodmin General railway stations. In 1888, it was connected to Boscarne Junction which in turn provided connection to the Bodmin & Wadebridge Railway. Since the latter was operated by the London & South Western Railway (LSWR), we will take a closer look of both the GWR and LSWR.

A Brief History of the Great Western Railway (GWR)

The Great Western Railway (GWR) is a former British railway company. It was established in 1833 and provided a link between London and major cities and industrial towns in South West England and Wales. In addition to operating a rail network in the mentioned part of Britain, the GWR also built locomotives, most of which were manufactured at the GWR’s Swindon Works in Swindon, Wiltshire. The majority of locomotives that were produced by the Swindon Works were painted English/Brunswick green, while passenger coaches were traditionally painted in cream and chocolate.

Unlike other railway companies that were amalgamated by the Railways Act 1921, the GWR remained an independent railway company. However, in 1947 it was nationalised and became a part of the British Railways (BR) as the Western Region of BR. The latter ceased to operate in the early 1990s and many once very busy lines closed.

A Brief History of the London & South Western Railway (LSWR)

The London & South Western Railway (LSWR) was a British railway company which connected London and Plymouth as well as many other cities in South West England via branch lines: Ilfracombe, Bournemouth, Padstow, Weymouth and Portsmouth, to mention only a few. It was founded in 1838 as the London and Southampton Railway but it soon changed its name to the London & South Western Railway.

The LSWR remained an independent railway company until the so-called Grouping Act (passed by the Parliament in 1921) which entered into force in 1923 and merged the LSWR, the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, and the South Eastern and Chatham Railway into the Southern Railway. In 1948, the latter was nationalised and became a part of the British Railways as the Southern Region of BR. Just like the Western Region of BR, the Southern Region ceased to operate in the 1990s as well although some lines later reopened as heritage railways.