Historic railway track restored at Paddington station

Two lengths of railway track from the very earliest days of the railways have been restored at Paddington station[1], although you might need a few tips to be able to find them.

There are two lengths of railway — one dates from around the 1850s and to the untrained eye looks like a fairly routine piece of railway track, but was created by William Henry Barlow, the same engineer who built the massive train shed at St Pancras station. The other railway track visibly looks older, and is from an early type of “baulk road” railway developed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel — and like many of his inventions, was a bit of a failure.

The two lengths of railway are, rather oddly for a railway, mounted on the side of a wall. Quite why they are there is a bit of a mystery, but the best theory is that they were put there between the 1850s and 1920s to protect the brick wall from damage if hit by road vehicles.

They were rusting away a bit, but have recently been restored by Network Rail[2] and the Railway Heritage Trust[3].

To find them, go to the northern of the two main entrances into the Elizabeth line station and look northwards — on the left side you’ll see a small road next to the main entrance slope, and the restored railway tracks can be found on the wall there. Once you spot them, it’s very obvious, and there’s also a small plaque next to them to explain their historic importance.

Incidentally, looking at the lower baulk road railway – it refers to laying the railway sleepers in a line underneath the railway track instead of at right angles as all modern railways use now.

You can however see some baulk track in use today — also at Paddington station. Pop around to Platform 1 and you can see the junction where conventional track and sleepers switch to the older baulk layout.

A little bit of historic legacy that’s walked past by hundreds of thousands of people without realising.

Tagged with: [4]


This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox[5] where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here[6].

Thank you


  1. ^ Paddington station (www.ianvisits.co.uk)
  2. ^ Network Rail (www.ianvisits.co.uk)
  3. ^ Railway Heritage Trust (railwayheritagetrust.co.uk)
  4. ^ (www.ianvisits.co.uk)
  5. ^ DonorBox (donorbox.org)
  6. ^ here (donorbox.org)