The Great Western Study Group began in 1975 as a non-profit making body of enthusiasts sharing an interest in studying a variety of aspects of GWR history and practice, and in promoting research into GWR topics. Bringing together like-minded enthusiasts and helping to source material related to the Great Western Railway are probably the most important functions of the Group, whether you are a modeller, social historian or transport historian, interested in railway or industrial archaeology, or just generally enthused with "God's Wonderful Railway". Interests are not confined to prototype practice, but include modelling in various gauges and in maintaining a close interest in current trends in the commercial modelling market.


Meetings are held around the country, for which there is no set agenda, but items for comment vary from inspection of members' models and layouts, through the review of relevant books and magazines, examination of plans, documents, photographs and diagrams, to discussion of the outcome of individual prototype research. Light refreshments are commonly provided for meetings of small groups in members' houses. Exhibitions are held from time-to-time, most recently the very successful GWExpo2011.

The Group also operates an IO Group members-only discussion group. To join this group send an email to: and mention your membership number in the text.


These include visits to centres of special interest, such as Didcot, Pendon, steam preservation centres, and the National Railway Museum at York. A high proportion of members contribute to local model railway exhibitions in several ways, including layouts. Members have also been invited to give lectures and have been successful with publications in commercial Journals, as well as having written a number of complete volumes. However, you will be welcomed as a member of the Group whether a newcomer to the Great Western Railway, or a seasoned railway historian or modeller.

A group of members have also been helping to catalogue ex-Swindon drawings at the NRM.


The Group publishes a lively Newsletter, at least quarterly, which contains discussion and replies to members' queries or comments, incorporates book and product reviews, news on the preservation scene, modelling articles, news of special events, lists of kit availability and papers on GWR history and service. The Newsletter offers opportunities for correspondence and contributions are always welcome. Occasional journals, the "PANNIER" & the "PANNIER SUPPLEMENT", are also produced by the Group. These are quality publications and include substantial papers and historical information. The Group maintains all past Newsletters and Panniers in print, back issues may be ordered from the Membership Secretary. All information published by the Group may thus be obtained at any time.