The Great Western Railway at Brunel

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Railway CuttingBrunel University indirectly owes its name to the Great Western Railway, (GWR). When Acton Technical College was divided, there were plans to call the new college after an engineer or scientist with local connections. There were suggestions to name it after the 16th century Francis Bacon, but as Dr Topping pointed out at the time, Bacon could be an unfortunate name for a college specialising in sandwich courses.  However, Isambard Kingdom Brunel   had built the GWR through Acton in the 1830s, and his Wharncliffe viaduct at Hanwell was nearby, which gave an alternative. When the new Brunel University opened on its Uxbridge site in 1968, it had moved to another area with ties to the GWR.

In 1856 the GWR had built a railway line between Uxbridge Vine Street Station and West Drayton. It ran through what is now the campus, and a section of a railway cutting remains between the car park and Cleveland…

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