A Great Western Snapshot

Written by: TrainSim-James

Note, screenshots depict content still in development.

In a previous article, titled “Great Western Main Line – A History” (which you can find here), we delved into the rich story behind the dawn of the Great Western Railway, and how it developed into the bustling line it is today. What we’ll be doing now however, is taking a look at how the Great Western Main Line stands at present. What would it look like if we all popped along to the Thames Valley right now? We have answers, and in-game screenshots!

London Paddington Station

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and opened in 1854, Paddington station acted as the London terminus for the Great Western Railway, which previously started from a temporary station just up the line. The grand station was originally built with 3 spans and housed several platforms which served both local and long-distance trains. Adjacent to Platform 1 would be found parcel offices, ticket booking, and various dining rooms, and the face of the station was the impressive Great Western Hotel.

Today, the station has seen dramatic changes, a 4th span has been added and refurbished, the concourse has been modernised, the conversion to standard gauge saw the introduction of 14 platforms, direct and stopping services to Heathrow Airport have been introduced, and now, all lines have been electrified for the introduction of the Intercity Express Programme and Electrostars. Note, header image above depicts the view west from London Paddington.

Elizabeth Line

Crossrail, or as it will be known, the Elizabeth Line, is perhaps the most radical development and construction project London has seen for decades. The Elizabeth Line will connect Shenfield and Abbey Wood to the east, with Heathrow and Reading to the west, via a brand new tunnel under the centre of London. One of the stations along the Elizabeth Line is London Paddington, after which the Line will utilise the Great Western Main Line to Reading.

As result, major changes have taken place surrounding Paddington in recent times, and the line has developed a unique ‘under-construction’ character; new platforms have been built underground, electrification has slowly been extended out of London, a massive site where the Elizabeth Line will emerge from the tunnels has been excavated. At the end of all the works, in December 2019, the new Elizabeth Line will revolutionise east-west travel in London, and the GWML will become a hub of interchange activity.

Above, various construction materials straddled between the slow and fast lines at Acton. Below, a construction site has been set up aside the Great Western Main Line, such a sight has been regular in recent times. You can click on the images to make them larger and download them to adorn your computer desktop.

Old Oak Common TMD

Opened in 1906, Old Oak Common Traction Maintenance Depot serves as the main staging point in London for Great Western rolling stock. The previous depot for the GWR was located at Westbourne Park, and opened in 1855, but this had limitations as fleet sizes grew, and a new depot was required. When completed, it was the largest depot on the GWR network, and had a convenient layout that would be translated to other depots further down the line. It featured all the standard equipment required by steam locomotives, turntables, water and coal loading facilities, and a repair shop.

Over time, the depot has seen several modifications for more modern use, and the site has been expanded significantly to now be home of High Speed Trains, Networker Turbos, Adelantes, Night Riviera Stock and much more. Plans are also in place for further development, including a new shed for the Elizabeth Line and a new railway station to connect the GWML with the proposed High Speed 2 line from London Euston to Birmingham.

The vast array of tracks at Old Oak Common play host to all the early morning and late evening action on the Great Western Main Line, you’ll need to know your way around!

Reading Station

Originally opened in March 1840, Reading station quickly proved itself as a fast and reliable way to enter London, cutting previous journey times by at least fourfold; popularity grew alongside local towns, and as the GWR reached further afield, more and more travellers continued to pass through. Reading received its own Great Western Hotel in 1844 for visitors to the town, the station was built to a Brunel standard however, creating a bottleneck pattern for every up train and causing congestion.

Despite extra platforms and upgrades over the decades, including the combination of both the Great Western and South Eastern stations, the station had become a nightmare for trains to negotiate, and so the station received a major renovation between 2009 and 2015. The works included the addition of 5 new platforms, a totally brand new footbridge and platform canopies, reformed access to the station, and a new flyover west of the station to reduce congestion between different services. Totally transformed, Reading station is capable of coping with the capacity and frequency of the future.

Facing west, with London Paddington behind us, we see the recently renovated Reading station in all its modernised glory. Are you ready to take on the challenge of running countless services in and out of this bustling hub?

The locale of the Great Western Main Line has been ever-changing in an effort to forever improve service reliability and timeliness, and recent years have seen the most radical changes since Brunel first devised such a line many moons ago. You too will soon get the chance to explore the GWML as we have today, so make sure you head to the Store as Train Sim World: Great Western Express is available now!

A light dusting of snow has fallen over Iver, and by the looks of the sky, we’re due a little more, be vigilant out there!

Train Sim World: Great Western Express is Out Now!
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We’re always happy to receive your comments below but please ensure they are related to the subject of the article, we’ll remove any that appear to be unrelated.



  • Hi,

    I just watched the TSW:GE Video again and realised that the Dot-Matrix departure boards don’t have any text on them, Will they be like this at release or will they have 1st @ xx:xx time, then 2nd and 3rd and would it have the ability to update when that service passes through.

    Apologies for loads of questions with me but, perhaps that could be one to save for later as that would be really amazing for it to do that.

    Many thanks again,

    • I’ve saved your question to answer at the appropriate time James, I haven’t got any details to share on this as yet

  • Hi again, I just have one more question on the route, Will it include the overhead wires all the way to reading as in real life today there are overhead wires all the way to Didcot Parkway?

    Thanks again,

    • I’ll see what I can find out for you next week if you can bear with me James

      • Yes not to worry, just remembered to ask that as when the 387 comes to TSW: GE Which I’m highly anticipating it would be great to go all the way from Paddington to Reading with it, even though In real life services don’t go there just yet the wires are still in place for when they decide to give it the go-ahead.
        Many thanks, much appreciated.

      • Hi I’m just replying to see if theres has been an update on this this week or not, no worries if not. 🙂

        • Sorry James, still no update on this as yet, hopefully sometime later today or tomorrow.

  • will the AI be able to blow their horn if not that’s a feature i would like to see in the game

    • This is very firmly on our list Daniel, it’s something we absolutely want to do but it’s not a simple thing to program as there are so many rules to factor in for all the various railways and railroads. While I have no details on when this will come to Train Sim World, rest assured that it is definitely in our plan.

  • HI,

    Just wondering is there a pre-release stream or any more articles to be written with screenshots included?

    Many thanks,

    • We’ll have more screenshots and in-game footage coming soon, James

      • Ok thanks Steve, So eager to see more of this game
        – One more thing, when could we see an integration of the 387s into TSW: GWE?

        • The 387 is most certainly on our list, not only for GWE but, for a future route in planning right now James 😉

      • Just one week left until release 😉 I hope we see today or at the weekend more screenshots 🙂

        • Should have some more screenshots for you later today Daniel 🙂

  • Hey ! will there be train announcements? On the Train and Stations?

    • We’ll have more details soon, Tristan 🙂

  • I apologize for calling you James, Steve.

    • That’s ok Jerry 😉

  • Will there be any gameplay footage beforehand for it?

    • There will indeed ItsYa165, we’re busy working something up right now but are also looking into streaming before it goes live.

  • I think we will see the service mode in the GWE DLC too.
    I did read on a GWR site there are 336 trains per day from Paddington to Reading, will we see all this trains in the service mode or just few of this?

    I am asking this because i wanna know if we will be able to board a train in Paddington as a passenger and go the next station, exit the train there, look around and take the next train to the next station? 🙂

    • More news on Service Mode in an upcoming article Daniel but I believe there are a few more than 366 services between Paddington and Reading 😉

      • Ah nice, looking forward for the article 🙂

        The 336 trains I had found are only the GWR trains starting from Paddington with stop in Reading.
        I am sure there are more trains from other companies and/or without stop in Reading/to other directions. 😉

      • Hopefully, you TrainSim dudes haven’t gotten too far in-game for my idea. Service Mode needs to be legit servicing… I’m talking guards and tickets and trainspotting. Definately trainspotting at the platform edge. I guess you thought of this. There must be some sort of Free roam. Smart people are at da helm of dovetail.

        • Guard operation will come along in good time, think Multiplayer. Trainspotting you can already do though will get better with time as we add more content but I have to say, standing on a platform with a HST flying past at 125 is utterly awesome 🙂

      • Will you be able to roam the stations? Will we be able to spend 24hours riding as a passenger?

        • You can indeed ItsYa165 🙂

  • Love how its turning out so far! Would it be possible to have something that hasn’t been featured in TS e.g. Cambrian Line (Of course the whole network does take some time for a full run from Shrewsbury)?

    • We do plan on bringing new routes to Train Sim World Harry. I’ve added your suggestion to our list for future consideration.

  • Nice to finally see a screenshot of Reading Station. Its looking really good 🙂

  • Loving the pic of paddington

  • this is actually looking amazing when can we see more gameplay?

    • As mentioned below, I’m not sure when Iffath but there is another Dev Diary in the pipeline right now, watch out for it over the next few days.

  • When will the next developer diary be released?

    • Not sure when the next Dev Diary will land Bob but I know one is in the pipeline

  • WOW!! This look GOOD!!

  • I don’t see lines between poles, is this route not electrified? And is it so in real, or just in game?

    • Still some work to do Mephrite but, to use British Rail’s old slogan, “We’re getting there” 🙂


        • I am BR Blue for sure ItsYa165 😉

  • Why so short? I would have made alot more sense to extend it to perhaps Oxford, or Didcot, such as the original GWML. It really seems short.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us LariasGames

  • I don’t believe you! I am pretty sure you went outside with a camera for the winter one! 😛

    • But I’ll be honest, the red lights look like they were edited in using Microsoft Paint. Work in progress, isn’t it?

  • I’m loving the look of that light snow. Looks just like real life! Much better than in CSX where a light dusting of snow meant the whole world was tinted slightly white.

  • As usual, James, a well researched and written article. Could you provide a preview of freight operations in this new piece of TSW?

    • Hopefully next week we’ll go into more detail on the train-operational side of things LastTrainToClarksville

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