Great Western Main Line

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Great Western Main Line
Stations (from east to west)
                London Paddington
Tilehurst Reading West
Pangbourne Theale
Goring & Streatley Aldermaston
Cholsey Midgham
Didcot Parkway Thatcham
Swindon Newbury Racecourse
Chippenham Newbury
Bath Spa Kintbury
Oldfield Park Hungerford
Keysham Bedwyn
Bristol Temple Meads
Bedminster Pewsey
Parson Street
Nailsea & Backwell Westbury
Worle Frome
Weston Milton
Weston-super-Mare Bruton
Highbridge & Burnham   
Bridgwater Castle Cary
  Tiverton Parkway
  Exeter St. Davids
  Newton Abbot
The Great Western Main Line at Dawlish
The Great Western Main Line crosses the River Thames on Maidenhead Railway Bridge

The Great Western Main Line is a main line railway in the United Kingdom, corresponding to the principal routes of the pre-1948 Great Western Railway which were subsequently taken over by the Western Region of British Railways and are now operated by First Great Western.

The original Great Western Main Line runs from London Paddington via Reading, Swindon, Bath, Bristol Temple Meads and Exeter to Plymouth.

The route that diverges at Wootton Bassett near Swindon to Bristol Parkway, the Severn Tunnel, Newport, Cardiff and Swansea, known as the South Wales Main Line, is also part of the Great Western Main Line, as is the Berks and Hants Line, diverging at Reading to reach Exeter more directly via Newbury, Westbury and Castle Cary.

The main lines between Paddington and Bristol are capable of supporting 125mph operation, having been upgraded during the 1970s to support the introduction of the Intercity 125 (HST).

The line is electrified at 25 kV AC overhead between Paddington and the junction with the line to Heathrow Airport, and is one of only two lines in the UK to be equipped with the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, the other being the Chiltern Main Line.

Further electrufucation of the Main Line would be difficult, since the size of the Severn Tunnel is too small to fit in overhead electric lines and without an extension to South Wales there would be insufficient traffic. Privatisation of the railways has also brought rail electrification in Britain to a virtual stop.

Routes in detail

London to Plymouth via Bristol

Reading to Taunton

Note: Most direct London-Plymouth trains use this route.

Cornish Main Line

Cornish Main Line
Principal stations

St Budeaux Ferry Road
St Germans
Bodmin Parkway
St Austell
St Erth

Note: The section of line between St Austell and Truro has recently been upgraded to double track, to allow better timekeeping and reduce delays to services.

Main line railways in Great Britain:
High-speed main lines:  Channel Tunnel Rail Link
'Classic' main lines:  Cross-Country Route   East Coast Main Line   Great Eastern Main Line  
 Great Western Main Line   Midland Main Line   West Coast Main Line

Railway lines in South-West England and the "Great Western" zone :
Main lines:  Cross-Country Route   Great Western Main Line
 Cherwell Valley Line   Gloucester-Newport Line   Exeter-Paignton "Riviera" Line   South Wales Main Line  
 Wessex Main Line   West of England Main Line   
Commuter lines:  Severn Beach Line   Slough-Windsor & Eton Line
Rural lines:  Exeter-Barnstaple "Tarka" Line   Exeter-Exmouth "Avocet" Line   Golden Valley Line   Heart of Wessex Line  
 Henley Branch Line   Looe Valley Line   Marlow Branch Line   Par-Newquay "Atlantic Coast" Line  
 St Ives Bay Line   Tamar Valley Line   Truro-Falmouth "Maritime" Line 

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