English Heritage
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English Heritage and Network Rail to Protect Heritage of the Great Western

English Heritage is starting a consultation (18 April - 9 May 2012) on the historic and architectural significance of a number of historic railway buildings, bridges and tunnels along the 116 miles of track of the Great Western main line, which runs from London's Paddington Station to Bristol's Temple Meads, including several slightly later branch lines.

The pioneering Great Western route was built 176 years ago by the eminent engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to open up new trade routes between London and Bristol. Network Rail's 10-year improvement plan, which is due to be completed by 2017, includes electrifying part of the historic line. All parties recognise the significance of the Great Western route and are keen to uphold its remarkable qualities while enabling improvements to be made.

In response to this major infrastructure project, English Heritage, with the support from Network Rail, is consulting on the histories and descriptions of 50 buildings and structures which have been identified, as deserving closer attention. These include bridges and other structures in or around Maidenhead, Reading, Oxford, Newbury, Bath and Bristol. This consultation will help confirm the part these played in the development of the line and provide evidence of their significance. Following the consultation, English Heritage will recommend to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport which should be designated.

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