To mark the centenary of the opening, in 1835, of the Great Western main line between Paddington and Bristol, the GWR’s management decided to create a new express service linking London and Bristol. With a schedule of 105 minutes in each direction, the service was 15 minutes faster than the previous best and with slight variations over the years, it stayed that way until the introduction of HST services to the route.
The non-stop service was normally comprised of seven coaches, initially being Collet Bow-Ended stock, comprising two third class brakes, three composites, a third and, in the centre, a buffet car. The first months of the service saw it being hauled by a ‘King’ class locomotive but it soon became apparent that a ‘Castle’ class was more than capable of the task, it was to be 1954 before the ‘Kings’ returned to the service.
Departure from Paddington was at 10:00am, with Bristol being reached at 11:45am and the return leg commenced at 4:30pm, arriving back at Paddington for 6:15pm, the average speed being just over 67mph for the two legs of the journey. Whilst ‘Bristolian’ roof boards were fitted from the outset, a headboard did not feature until 1953.
Hornby’s new pack for the ‘Bristolian’ contains GWR ‘King’ 6009 King Charles II with ‘shirtbutton’ logos, together with a trio of the new Collett bow-ended carriages. The carriages will be left-hand Brake Corridor Third 5108, right-hand Brake Corridor Third 5107 and left-hand Corridor Composite 6160. All three will be turned out in GWR chocolate and cream livery with ‘Bristolian’ roof boards fitted.
- King Charles II Locomotive '6009'
- Collett Coach LH BTK '5108'
- Collett Coach RH BTK '5107'
- Collett Coach LH CK '6160'