Slough to Windsor & Eton Line

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Slough to Windsor & Eton Line
Overview
Type Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Berkshire
South East England
Termini Slough
Windsor & Eton Central
Stations 2
Operation
Opening 1849
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) First Great Western
Character Branch Line
Technical
No. of tracks 1
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Slough to Windsor & Eton Line
 Reading – Paddington 
Great Western Main Line B416
Slough
Slough Depot (closed 1964)
A4 Bath Road
B3027 Chalvey Road
Chalvey siding (1929–1944)
Chalvey Halt (1929–1930)
M4 motorway
Jubilee River
A332 Windsor Relief Road
MoD siding proposed site only
National Cycle Route 4
Brick arches viaduct
B3026 Eton Wick road
Meadow Lane
Windsor Railway Bridge over River Thames
Windsor Goods Yard (lifted 1960s)
Windsor & Eton Central

The Slough to Windsor & Eton Branch Line is a railway line, approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km) long, in Berkshire, England. Trains run between Slough and Windsor and Eton Central stations. The branch is connected at Slough to the Great Western Main Line, but it is used by rare passenger trains.

Services[edit]

A 20-minute service interval in each direction is operated by First Great Western using the dedicated bay platform 1 at Slough.

Rolling stock[edit]

Neither the Great Western Mainline west of Hayes and Harlington nor its branch lines are electrified and most trains on the Windsor Branch are diesel-powered.

Services are provided by Class 165 and Class 166 2- and 3-car diesel multiple units (DMUs).

In the 1970s and 1980s DMUs such as the Class 117 and Class 121 ('Bubblecars') were used.

History[edit]

A former GWR locomotive 6664 photographed near the engine shed at Slough, October 1955.
The "Windsor bay" (Platform 1) at Slough station, with a Class 165 DMU waiting to depart for Windsor
A 2-car Class 165 DMU, on the brick viaduct carrying the GWR line into Windsor (looking east towards Eton College).
The wrought iron railway bridge at Windsor.
(Picture shows downstream side, looking towards Windsor.)

The line opened, despite opposition from Eton College, on 8 October 1849. It was built as a broad gauge line but dual gauge track was laid in 1862.[1]

For a period from 1863, Metropolitan Railway trains served the line. Between 1 March 1883 and 30 September 1885 the branch was also served by the Metropolitan District Railway.

The Junction[edit]

The junction at Slough was a triangular junction connecting to the mainline in both eastbound (London) and westbound (Reading) directions. It is not known whether it was used for turning complete trains; a turntable was available at Slough Shed for turning locomotives. The layout of the junction was complicated as the east curve ran between sidings of the Slough Locomotive Shed.

Most service trains accessed Slough station by the eastern chord, which remains in use. It is double track, with the "outer" track to the bay platform used by branch-line trains at Slough, and the "inner" track, connected to the mainline, used by ECS (empty stock) workings and by rare passenger trains.

The western chord, known as the "Royal" or "Queen's" Curve, was little used except by excursion traffic and royal trains, (whence its nickname). It was closed through lack of use in 1964, and was used for a time to stable carriages, after which the track was lifted.

All land west of the eastern chord was sold for housing, and there is little evidence of the junction at the site now although aerial photographs show the curving line of the western tracks.

Chalvey Halt[edit]

The only intermediate stop on the branch line was Chalvey Halt,[2][3] 47 chains (945 m) south of Bath Road Junction.[4] The halt was authorised on 24 February 1929, at an estimated cost of £840, and opened on 6 May 1929. It comprised both "up" and "down" platforms, built from heavy timbers to the standard GWR design for halt platforms. There were also waiting shelters, and steps down to the nearby road.[5]

After only 14 months of operation, Chalvey Halt closed on 7 July 1930. A note in the GW Engineer's Department minutes of 19 October 1930, records that the materials from Chalvey Halt had been used to build Cashes Green Halt on the Gloucester to Swindon "Golden Valley Line", between Stroud and Stonehouse.[6] The short siding beside the halt was used by the MoD in World War II, until it became redundant in 1944 and was lifted shortly afterwards. A further track section just down line from Slough was cut back.[citation needed]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Windsor Branch workings in the Postwar Years, abstracts from Great Western Railway Journal Volume 4.". Steamindex.com. Retrieved 26 July 2011. 
  2. ^ Around Slough in Old Photographs, p53, Judith Hunter & Karen Hunter, Alan Sutton Publishing (1992)
  3. ^ The Changing Face of Slough, p69, Slough Museum, Breedon Books (2003)
  4. ^ Quayle, H.I.; Stanley C. Jenkins (1980). Branch Lines into the Eighties. David & Charles. pp. 30–32. ISBN 0-7153-7980-1. 
  5. ^ Robertson, Kevin (1990). Great Western Railway Halts (Volume One). Irwell Press. p. 51. ISBN 1-871608-17-1. 
  6. ^ Robertson, p48

Further reading[edit]

  • Mitchell, Vic and Smith, Keith (2002). Branch Lines to Henley, Windsor and Marlow. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-901706-77-X. 

External links[edit]