The Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway originated during the 'Railway Mania' years of the mid-1840s, when ambitious landowners and industrialists conceived the idea of a main line link between London and the West Midlands industrial areas. With Isambard Kingdom Brunel as its engineer, the OW&WR was seen as a close ally of the Great Western Railway, but in the event, the two companies became enmeshed in a bitter quarrel. When completed throughout to Oxford in 1853, the OW&WR worked in conjunction with the rival London & North Western Railway. However, relations with the parent Great Western Railway eventually improved and the 'Cotswold Line' became an archetypal GWR route. In recent years, the railway has prospered as a long-distance commuter route, with trains running through from Paddington to Hereford via Oxford, Worcester and Great Malvern.