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Paddington to Old Oak Common

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Heading further west, the line runs under Paddington station, coming above ground level at Royal Oak. From there it runs through Westbourne Park and Old Oak Common and then west to Heathrow and Reading.

In west London, the Elizabeth line route mirrors that of the former Great Western Railway (GWR), the line which links Wales and the West Country with the capital. The coming of the railway helped speed up the urbanisation of the Paddington area, which had begun with the construction of the Grand Junction Canal in 1801.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s GWR terminus station opened at Paddington in 1854. Engine and carriage sheds, offices, workshops and sidings were quickly established around the station and at Westbourne Park.

During the construction of the railway, Crossrail discovered many buried features of Brunel’s work. These include the original wood block road surface which provided noise abatement to residents from the hundreds of horse drawn vehicles using Departures Road.

On the arrivals side of the station we also found the specially constructed milk ramp that allowed carts to drive right up to the carriages arriving laden with milk from the counties.