The city of Bristol has always been an important transport intersection. For those travelling by car, it is notorious as the meeting point of the M4 and M5 motorways, and a frequent cause of frustration on busy summer weekends as holidaymakers head south west.
Its railway history can be traced back much further. Temple Meads, still the city’s main station today, dates back to 1840, with the Bristol & Exeter Railway to the South West opening just a little earlier than the route to London while the Great Western Railway completed the long tunnel at Box. The Bristol and Gloucester Railway brought trains from the north in 1844. And the city plays host to the first Parkway station in the UK, built at Stoke Gifford by British Rail and opened in 1972. While the quickest route from London to Devon and Cornwall is now via the Berks and Hants line, bypassing Bristol, the city remains a major rail hub.