GWR Bristol

The first element of the proposed World Heritage Site is the complex of first generation buildings at Brunel’s Grade I Listed Temple Meads Station in Bristol. The offices and boardroom at Temple Meads are currently being converted into a museum, the engine shed has been turned into The Exploratory, while the train shed is exhibition space. The 1865 front block of the later station is the main reception area for the present mainline station. The original line then sweeps north over the Floating Harbour, and then east on an embankment over the Feeder canal to the River Avon which it crosses by a masonry Gothic arched bridge (Grade I Listed) where the first element concludes.

The proposed Site recommences at Bath. It enters the World Heritage city of Bath via the turreted Twerton Tunnels and a long viaduct with infilled arches. These arches, whose facades are dignified by drip moulds over the window and door openings, were originally let as dwellings in order to recoup some of the engineering expenses of this section of line. The railway approaches the station by a battlemented masonry viaduct which crosses the Avon at a very oblique angle, the original wooden spans having been replaced in brick. Bath Spa Station has lost its roof over the track and has been extended, but the handsome central section of its Jacobean facade is as designed by Brunel. The line then recrosses the Avon with a fine classically detailed three arched masonry bridge with a central 88 feet span before proceeding to Bathwick on a masonry viaduct. The section of line to the east of Bathwick Hill through Sydney Gardens, with its swept retaining walls and cast iron and masonry bridges, is perhaps the most graceful railway townscape in the country. The proposed Site closes beyond the Warminster road bridge.

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