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The Modern GWR

‘New’ Western Region HQ at Swindon shock!

Le plus ca change. You have to laugh, don’t you? NR has decided that devolution is the way forward and they’ve come up with the idea that we could have a Western (isn’t there a word missing before that?) Region network based at Swindon to cover everything west of Paddington. Apparently, across the country, this will save the network £5 billion by 2014.

Personally, I feel they should go one step further and have their meetings in the old GWR Boardroom at Temple Meads but, hey, maybe that’s just nostalgia. As would be widening the gauge about, ooh, say 2 feet 3 3/4 inches to create an HS3 line to the West, I suppose.

It is being done, you may be surprised to know, to “enable route teams to make decisions more quickly”, as Chief Executive David Higgins said in his statement on 14 November, as reported in the excellent ‘Rail’ magazine. Well, isn’t that a statement of the obvious? the GWR starts at Paddington and then fans out in a joined up kind of way to the farthest corners of Cornwall and elsewhere so of course it’s easier. Now all they need to do is to give the new Region control of the trains that run on it and we will have a proper railway network again. Did I hear Brunel stirring a little?

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