Home General Interest Network Rail acquires Brunel’s ‘Bristol Old Station’

Network Rail acquires Brunel’s ‘Bristol Old Station’

Network Rail has acquired ‘Bristol Old Station’, the iconic Grade I listed building, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, that was Bristol’s first railway station when it opened in 1840 as the western terminus of the Great Western Railway from London Paddington. It remains one of the oldest surviving railway stations in Britain.

Its acquisition from Bristol City Council allows Network Rail to bring the building back into railway ownership for the first time since rail privatisation in the mid-1990s.

The Old Station is currently home to Engine Shed, a business incubator which supports a cluster of innovative start-ups, and the Passenger Shed, an events space which hosts a wide range of events including exhibitions and weddings.

Network Rail plans to maintain current commercial uses in the building, while implementing a programme to maintain and restore the Grade 1 listed facilities. Its aspirations for the buildings will complement proposals for the wider station area under the emerging Bristol Temple Quarter masterplan.

Brunel’s Old Station – Internal shot of passenger shed.

Stuart Kirkwood, acting group property director at Network Rail Property said: “We are very pleased to have brought this iconic building back into railway ownership. This is a landmark site with historical significance for the nation and for Network Rail as a company. We are looking forward to revitalising the building for the enjoyment of passengers, tenants and the local community.

“This refurbishment is part of our wider strategy to create great places for business and communities to thrive, supporting economic growth and regeneration in towns and cities across the UK.”

Mike Gallop, Western route managing director, added: “It is an honour to have this historic building in Network Rail ownership. The building deserves the best care it can get, and we are planning to do just that. I trust that Brunel would be pleased to know that his first station in Bristol is back where it belongs – within the railway family that will care and cherish it.”

Nigel Wordsworth BSc(Hons) MCIJhttp://therailengineer.com

SPECIALIST AREAS Rolling stock, mechanical equipment, project reports, executive interviews


Nigel Wordsworth graduated with an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from Nottingham University, after which he joined the American aerospace and industrial fastener group SPS Technologies. After a short time at the research laboratories in Pennsylvania, USA, Nigel became responsible for applications engineering to industry in the UK and Western Europe. At this time he advised on various engineering projects, from Formula 1 to machine tools, including a particularly problematic area of bogie design for the HST.

A move to the power generation and offshore oil supply sector followed as Nigel became director of Entwistle-Sandiacre, a subsidiary of the Australian-owned group Aurora plc. At the same time, Nigel spent ten years as a Technical Commissioner with the RAC Motor Sports Association, responsible for drafting and enforcing technical regulations for national and international motor racing series.

Joining Rail Engineer in 2008, Nigel’s first assignment was a report on new three-dimensional mobile mapping and surveying equipment, swiftly followed by a look at vegetation control machinery. He continues to write on a variety of topics for most issues.

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