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Lost railways 150

Lost Railways of Berkshire, pub. 2006

Although featuring a number of lost railways from around Berkshire, Windsor is featured extensively - although we haven't lost either of ours! Nevertheless the stories behind how the two railways came to Windsor make interesting reading as do the the histories of other lines, now well and truly lost elsewhere in our country.

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The Railways Come to Windsor

1849

In this article we feature some old pictures of the two railways serving Windsor. This article will grow as new material is researched.

The GWR Branch line from Slough

Le Blond Detail

A detail from a print by Abraham Le Blond in 1865, after an original painting by J. Buckley, showing a GWR train leaving Windsor on its way to Slough over the original trestle viaduct. The viaduct served Windsor Central Station before the brick-built viaduct of the later Victorian period which remains to this day (2003).

Le Blond Detail

Le Blond's print with the railway running across Baths Island before reaching the bridge across the river Thames

Brunel's Bridge, Thames and Castle

A view looking east towards Windsor Castle
with Brunel's Great Western 'Bowstring' Railway Bridge

The GWR viaduct past Eton

The brick-built GWR viaduct past Eton on the north side of the river Thames

Windsor Central Station now known as 'Windsor Royal Station', great for shopping, Train connections via Slough to Reading and the West and Paddington in London.

This station was finally completed in 1897 in time for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations


The Railway Line to the Riverside Station

Unusually for a medium size town, two railways serve Windsor, originating at main line stations in London, Paddington and London, Waterloo. In the 1840s Paddington Station was the London terminus of Brunel's Great Western Railway, and Waterloo was the terminus for the Richmond and Staines Railway.
  There was quite a struggle between the two railway companies to be the first to open their line into Windsor, no doubt hoping for Royal patronage. It was a contest that the GWR won, though only by a whisker, and only after a delay caused by a support failure on the bridge carrying the line over the river from Datchet. Services to Windsor and Eton Riverside Station commenced on 1st December 1849.
  The line was known as the London and South Western Railway for many years until nationalisation of the railways in 1948 when it became part of the Southern Region. The line had been electrified in 1930, with the first services running on 6th July of that year.

RSD Railway (Riverside) 1860s

The goods yard at Windsor and Eton Riverside Station in the 1870s with a misty Windsor Castle, North Terrace, in the background, beyond the Home Park. In the foreground is the Lock Cut leading to Romney Lock, downstream. The trucks are loaded with coal.
[From an original stereoview of the period]

Goods Yard 1870s

Another similar view by George Washington Wilson probably taken in 1875.
[From an original stereoview of the period kindly donated by Tim Forbes of Canada, Oct 05]

Goods Yard

Another view from Romney Island towards the goods yard and the Southern Region (Riverside) Station.
We assume this to be around 1875 also, judging by the very similar tree height.

Steam train at Windsor

A steam engine waits at Windsor and Eton Riverside Station. The line from Waterloo to Windsor was progressively electrified from October 1915, first to Wimbledon, then Hounslow and Kingston in 1916, with Windsor starting electric train services on 6th July 1930. The photograph above probably dates from the 1920s.

Electric tains at Windsor1940s

Electric trains at Windsor Station in the 1940s

The Windsor and Eton Riverside Station

Windsor and Eton Riverside Station in 2000. Originally designed by William Tite.

During WWII the Riverside Station was used to evacuate casualties from the bombing of London. Film exists of the injured being stretchered off a train and loaded into ambulances for the journey to local hospitals.

On 8th September 1974 the level crossing that connected the Home Park with Romney Lock was closed and replaced by a footbridge, while vehicular traffic access was now along the north side of the station, through the former goods yard and joining the original route beside the Lock Cut. The goods yard itself has become a car park.


Back to Windsor History Index

 See also

The Bridges of Windsor - The Town Bridge

The Bridges of Windsor - The Downstream Bridges

Back to Royal Windsor Home Page




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