Remains of a Victorian-era engine shed designed by famous engineer Brunel have been uncovered by workers at the Crossrail site in Paddington.

The excavations include a 200-metre wagon shed, a workshop and train turntables dating from the 1850s which were demolished in 1906 to make way for a goods storage yard.

The buildings were designed by iconic engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel as part of his Great Western Railway and were found on Paddington New Yard, a construction site close to Westbourne Park Tube station.

Crossrail’s lead archaeolgist Jay Carver, said: "Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway is the most complete early mainline railway in the world. Whenever we expose parts of the original infrastructure it is vital to record these for posterity and the history of rail in this country. Using the latest 3D scan technology provides a permanent and accurate model Brunel’s distinctive architectural legacy."

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Brunel, who is probably best known for designing the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, designed the yards for his broad gauge railway, which ran steam trains from 1838.

The engine shed shows evidence of the standard gauge tracks which were introduced in 1846, much to Brunel’s dismay, with a thinner space between the tracks to allow for a more uniform track gauge across Britain’s railways.

To date the Crossrail archaeology programme has uncovered 10,000 items spanning 55 million years of London’s history, including Roman remains, plague pits and parts of Bedlam mental institution.

 

Feltham historian Eddie Menday looked at the origins of the Clifton Suspension bridge for getwestlondon last month.