Early Great Western Railway timetable, 1840s.
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Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) was appointed chief engineer of the Great Western Railway (GWR) in March 1833, with the task of building a railway to link London and Bristol. The first section, opened in 1838, went from London to Taplow, Buckinghamshire, and the line finally reached Bristol in 1841. The spead of the railways in the 1840s provided the impetus for the adoption of standard time acros Britain. Traditionally, time was measured locally, meaning that there were time differences of several minutes between towns acros the country. To enable accurate timetables to be produced, rail companies adopted London time as standard at all their stations, providing pasengers with information about the discrepancy between 'Railway Time' and their local time.