Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway letterhead 1850
The Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway, nicknamed the "Old Worse & Worse," was authorized by an Act of 4 August 1845 to build a mixed-gauge line from Wolvercote Junction on the Great Western Railway's Oxford & Rugby line, to Wolverhampton, with a connection to the London & North Western Railway's line at Bushbury North Junction. It incorporated the Stratford and Morton Tramway, authorized in 1821 and opened in 1826. Although the OW&WR was built by Brunel with mixed gauge tracks, when it opened in 1854 the OW&W proceeded to fall out with the Great Western Railway, the broad gauge rails were never used, and an agreement was reached with the London & North Western Railway to provide rail service between Oxford (Rewley Road) and London Euston. On 1 July 1860 the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway combined with the Newport, Abergavenny and Hereford Railway, the Worcester and Hereford Railway, and the Coleford, Monmouth, Usk and Pontypool Railway to form the West Midland Railway. In 1862, it also leased the Leominster and Kington Railway. Then, somewhat to everyone's surprise, the Return of the Prodigal took place — the West Midland Railway kissed and made up with the Great Western Railway, and as of 1 August 1863 it became part of the GWR.