Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The National Rail station at Paddington is the London terminus for long distance trains to the West Country, Bristol, Bath and South Wales, and also for some West London commuter services, all operated by Great Western Trains. The Heathrow Express also travels between Paddington and Heathrow Airport. The station is one of seventeen UK railway stations managed by Network Rail.
Stops on several lines of the London Underground are also part of the station complex: the Hammersmith & City Line at a surface station on the north side of the station and parallel with it; the District Line and Circle Line in a cutting in front of the station and perpendicular to it, and the Bakerloo Line in deep-level tubes below the station.
The first station to open in the Paddington area was a temporary terminus for the Great Western Railway on the west side of Bishop's Bridge Road. The first GWR services from London to Taplow, near Maidenhead, ran from here in 1838. After the opening of the main station in 1854, this became the site of the goods yard. After years of dereliction, it is now being redeveloped as a mixed residential and business area called "Paddington Central".
The main Paddington station between Bishops Bridge Road and Praed Street was opened in 1854. It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, later commemorated by a statue on the station concourse, though much of the architectural detailing was by his associate Matthew Digby Wyatt . The glazed roof is supported by wrought iron arches in three spans, respectively spanning 20.70 m (68 ft), 31.20 m (102 ft) and 21.30 m (70 ft), and 213 m (699 ft) long.
A very early construction by Brunel was recently discovered immediately to the north of the station; a cast iron bridge carrying the Bishop's Bridge Road over the railway lines was exposed during removal of the more recent brick outer covering, in the run-up to the bridge's complete replacement in late 2004.
In 1863 the Metropolitan Railway opened the first underground railway, running from Paddington to Farringdon. Its line emerged from the tunnels at a station (known for many years as Bishop's Road) on the north side of the mainline station, with a connection to the GWR mainline which allowed it to run regular services onto the GWR's Hammersmith branch. From the 1930s until the late 1960s the Metropolitan Line and GWR suburban services shared a group of four platforms, but the Underground is now entirely separate and forms Paddington station on the Hammersmith & City Line.
In 1868 the Metropolitan Railway opened a new branch to Kensington, with a station called Praed Street in a cutting across that street from the mainline station. This station is now Paddington station on the Circle and District Lines. It is linked to the mainline station and the Bakerloo line by a footway that passes underneath Praed Street and the Great Western Hotel.
It is proposed that Crossrail line 1 will serve Paddington station.
The children's book character Paddington Bear was named after Paddington station. In the books he is found at the station in London, coming from "deepest, darkest Peru" and with a note attached to his coat reading "please look after this bear, thank you". Because of this he is named after the station.
In real life there is a statue of Paddington Bear in the station concourse, and a small shop full of Paddington Bear paraphernalia in the main station area.
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