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Author Topic: Thames Valley branches - General Information  (Read 11589 times)
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« on: February 06, 2008, 04:27:11 pm »

Greenford, Windsor, Marlow and Henley by train

Description of lines

Greenford Branch :

Greenford - The original Greenford station , which was main line only , was opened by the Great Western Railway on 1 October 1904. The present station was built as part of the extension to the Central Line carried out under the LPTB's 1935-40 New Works plan , but only completed after the Second World War. It was opened on 30 June 1947.

A third centre bay platform between the Central Line platforms hosts the Greenford branch service.

The line then serves stations at South Greenford , Castle Bar Park & Drayton Green before joining the main line.

Windsor Branch :

Running between Slough & Windsor & Eton Central stations , it was opened on 8 October 1849 as a broad gauge line. Dual gauge track was laid in 1862.

Between 1 March 1883 and 30 September 1885 the branch was also served by the District Line.

An intermediate halt was opened in Chalvey in 1929 , but closed in 1930.

Windsor & Eton Central station opened in 1849 , but only after considerable opposition from the powers at Eton College , who were convinced that the proximity of a railway would lead the Eton boys astray.

The station is approached by a 2035 - yard brick viaduct and Brunel's oldest surviving railway bridge. The original building was little more than a glorified train shed. This was completely rebuilt by the GWR (Great Western Railway) for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee , with a much grander frontage and an interior reminiscent of Paddington. Two island platforms and a bay on the south side were provided.

On 17 November 1968 platforms 3 and 4 were taken out of use , and on 5 September 1969 platform 2 was also decommissioned. Later on, the remaining platform was also truncated , twice - at each rebuild of the station.

In 1982 British Rail and Madame Tussauds restored the station, creating an exhibition called Royalty and Railways. (It was later renamed Royalty and Empire.)

Unfortunately, the exhibition closed in the late 1990s , and almost all of the exhibits were taken away.

The station was turned into a shopping complex called Windsor Royal Shopping. The single platform was truncated still further , and can now handle no more than a three-coach train.

Marlow Branch :

Marlow station is the terminus of a single-track branch line leaving the main Great Western Line at Maidenhead railway station. It is known locally as the Marlow Donkey , after the original locomotive based at Marlow station.

North of Bourne End the line formerly connected to the main line through High Wycombe but when this service was cut the branch to Marlow was retained causing direct services between Marlow and Maidenhead to reverse at Bourne End.

Historically the line was never intended to be a branch but was planned to extend westwards to Henley-on-Thames. However this never proved attractive enough to raise any finance.

Bourne End station (originally Marlow Road) was created as part of an Act of Parliament authorising the building of a single line broad gauge railway from the Boyne Hill station in Maidenhead. To reach the station , a wooden viaduct had to be built across Cockmarsh , and a wooden bridge was built across the River Thames. From there, the trains ran to High Wycombe. The line was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for the Wycombe Railway Company.

In 1873 , a line linking Bourne End with Marlow was opened to the public , with 1700 tickets being sold in the first week. One notable early train was no. 522 , a locomotive which became known as the Marlow Donkey (see above.) Originally the branch line was served by a third platform on the west side of the station.

Trains continued to run from Bourne End to High Wycombe until 1970 , when the line was closed. However , they still continued to run between Maidenhead and Marlow , although in recent years concerns have been expressed that the railway may have to be run voluntarily due to a lack of funding. Services on this line are unusual , in that Bourne End is set up like a terminus but effectively acts as a through station , with the driver having to change ends to continue to the next station.

Other stations on the Marlow line are Cookham and Furze Platt.

Henley Branch :

Running between Twyford and Henley-on-Thames , the line was opened in 1857. From a junction with the Great Western Main Line at Twyford railway station , it turns north and goes under the A4 on its way to its next stop at Wargrave. From Wargrave , it crosses the River Thames into Oxfordshire and proceeds to Shiplake , the third stop on the line. Finally , from Shiplake it continues to the town of Henley-on-Thames , where the line terminates.

Service offered

Greenford Branch - Generally half - hourly on Monday - Saturday only , almost all trains terminate at West Ealing.

Windsor Branch - Generally half - hourly , 7 days a week , increased to every 20 minutes during peak times.

Marlow Branch - Hourly , 7 days a week , increased to half - hourly at peak times , when the service is split to run Maidenhead - Bourne End & Bourne End - Marlow. Peak hour trains no longer extend to London Paddington.

Henley Branch - Hourly , 7 days a week , increased to half - hourly at peak times. Peak hour trains no longer extend to London Paddington.

Peak flows

Known issues

Not all Marlow branch line trains call at Cookham , a matter recently raised by local MPs (Member of Parliament) , along with other timetable / overcrowding issues. Windsor Branch was due to have an all day , every 20 minutes service , but this was shelved at the request of First Great Western.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 09:41:03 pm by bobm » Logged
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