Cholsey and Wallingford Railway
|Cholsey and Wallingford Railway|
|A train on the line, crossing the Wallingford Bypass|
|Built by||Wallingford and Watlington Railway|
|Original gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Operated by||Cholsey and Wallingford Railway|
|Length||2 1⁄2 mi (4 km)|
|Preserved gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Cholsey and Wallingford Railway|
The Cholsey and Wallingford Railway is a 2 1⁄2-mile (4 km) long standard gauge heritage railway in the English county of Oxfordshire. It operates along most of the length of the former Wallingford branch of the Great Western Railway (GWR), from Cholsey station, 12 miles (19 km) north of Reading on the Great Western Main Line, to a station on the outskirts of the nearby town of Wallingford.
The first plans for the Cholsey to Wallingford line date from 1861, and envisaged an independently owned route from Moulsford to Princes Risborough via Wallingford, Benson, Watlington and Chinnor. This line was a through route, with junctions with the Great Western Railway at both Moulsford and Princes Risborough. By 1863 the plans had been amended to run from a junction nearer Cholsey than Moulsford, and to run only as far as Watlington.
The Wallingford and Watlington Railway opened as far as Wallingford in 1866, but poor traffic receipts meant that the planned extension to Watlington was given up in 1868 and the line never reached further than Wallingford. The railway was sold to the GWR in 1872 and, for reasons now forgotten, the line became popularly known as the Wallingford Bunk. The line closed to passengers in 1959, and the last goods traffic into the old Wallingford Station ran in 1965.
However most of the line was retained to serve a maltings adjacent to the railway on the outskirts of Wallingford. Rail service to this plant ceased in 1981, at which point the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway Preservation Society was formed to revive the line for tourist services. It first ran train rides for the public in 1985, with regular advertised services over the full available length of the line beginning in 1997. Steam traction has also been reintroduced.
The original branch platform at Cholsey station is still available to the preserved railway, and trains connect here with First Great Western stopping services on the Great Western Main Line between Reading and Didcot stations.
However the original Wallingford railway station and the last segment of the line have long been built on, and the line now terminates at a makeshift station at the line's headquarters adjacent to the site of the maltings that kept the line alive into the preservation era. The maltings have recently been demolished and replaced by housing, releasing some extra land to the railway. There are plans to build a replica GWR style station on this land.
- 13 April 2014, Mothering Sunday, Diesel hauled trains
- 19, 20, 21 April 2014, Easter Trains (steam) starring Ivor the Engine
- 04 05 May 2014, Second World War weekend, featuring a display of military vehicles and the 1st Berks. Home Guard Living History Group
The line is the home to several diesel locomotives, including three of British Rail's ubiquitous Class 08 shunters, which are used on most trains. Whilst the line does not currently possess any steam locomotives, it is occasionally operated by visiting steam locomotives, see "Special events" above.
- British Rail Class 08 0-6-0DE 08022 Lion, ex-Guinness Brewery, Park Royal, London (operational, August 2012)
- British Rail Class 08 0-6-0DE 08060 Unicorn, ex-Guinness Brewery, Park Royal, London (operational, August 2012)
- British Rail Class 08 0-6-0DE 08123 George Mason (operational, August 2012)
- Hibberd 0-4-0DM Carpenter, ex-Guinness Brewery, Park Royal, London (awaiting repair, March 2014)
- Non-CWR locomotives
A temporary resident is an American-built diesel locomotive which is owned by The American Railroad Centre in the UK:
- One Wickham trolley
Carriage and wagon
- "Along The Line". Cholsey and Wallingford Railway. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- "History". Cholsey and Wallingford Railway. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- "Projects". Cholsey and Wallingford Railway. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- "Cholsey & Wallingford Railway". Cholsey-wallingford-railway.com. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
- "Stock List". Cholsey and Wallingford Railway. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
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