I have updated the blog to include new photos some which I have found on the Internet under the CC licence and others off Geograph where I have credited the photographer.
|The DN&SR platform at Didcot.|
The Bay platforms of the Swindon and Newbury lines were removed to make way for car parking and so all trace of its former use was erased or was it, traces do still remain if you look around. At Didcot station if you look to the right you see a carpark, this was the bay for the DN&SR, the edge of the platform is still there as is its twin the Swindon bay can also be seen.
Walk down the carpark towards the Cow Lane bridge and you can see the edge all the way along and the point where the branch joined the mainline.
This is a view from near the Cow Lane Bridge looking up the old bay. Didcot station can be seen at the end
Head up along the road towards the roundabout and you pass some traffic lights for the Orchard centre. If you have to stop then you are looking uphill, the top is the point where the line went to Riches Sidings
Before the road was built you would have seen this bridge there at Lower Broadway, Jobes Dairy was over to the left past the bridge.
(photo courtesy of Dave Taylor Didcot Historic Society)
The road uses the old line and the roundabout is built where the bridge over Lower Broadway use be
The bridge was removed no doubt when they built the housing on the old Jobs Dairy site. Going over the roundabout in the East Hagbourne direction you can see over to the right is the old DN&SR railway embankment, it has now been made into a National cycle network route which will take you to Upton, as I still have to check this section out
Lower Broadway as it is now
|East Hagbourne Bridge|
I will jump to East Hagbourne where if you travel along the road leading to West Hagbourne you pass under a bridge which took the DN&SR over the road.
|The cyclway over East Hagbourne Bridge|
The Bridge now has a concrete deck though I would have thought it arched in the past. Heading along the line to Upton you will pass over two more arched bridges over farm tracks. The cycleway leaves the railway just prior to the second bridge and an unofficial footpath runs on to come out near the recreation ground. It is possible to walk further and see the approach to Upton Station but your way will be barred by a fence marking the boundary of a private property built on the old goods yard.
In it's heyday this would have been the scene at the station with the goods yard behind now Beeching Close
The photo was sourced off the Internet
Going along to the main road you would have been crossing the line via a bridge but that was removed sometime in the 1960s and the road straightened though I do vaguely remember the bridge. The line ran through a cutting (there is a house built on part now) but a lot of it remains and if you follow the footpath to Chilton from near the George and Dragon you will be walking alongside the old line. The part of the cutting towards Upton looks in good condition and is used by the local residents who border it hand have access to it.
|The Upton Cutting|
This is worth a look at and there are a few old wrecked cars nearby dumped after the railway closed. Some of the cutting towards Chilton is also used by motorcycle trials as the time I visited a track was laid out. The cutting from the bridge to Chilton is also quite overgrown and as you near Chilton you can see where it has been filled up to the arch level of the bridge at Chilton.
From this bridge to the next and beyond the cutting has been filled which I feel is an insult to the memory of those who built the line. From the bridge at Tile Barn the line ran out of the cutting and flat till it reached Churn where it went under a bridge before coming to Churn Halt.
|Line coming from the Upton cut|
The line up to that point can still be seen and part is used as a farm track and unofficial path (the official one nearby tends to be quite bad at times) though the section to Churn Halt is very overgrown.
|Line towards Churn Halt|
The platform at Churn is still there though very overgrown and one wonders why it was put there though it was used by the Army for summer camps and the National Rifle Association did used the range there and locally it was hoped that it would be the National range but due to the lack of facilities (no roads etc) it moved to Bisley.
|Platform at Churn|
Churn would have been the bleakest of places in the winter with only a small shelter to keep out the elements. A little further along the line goes under a second bridge which takes the ridgeway over it. The bridge is becoming battered with one parapet having broken away at some time and the railbed littered with various debris and rubbish.
|Churn Halt Bridge|
Looking on towards Compton the line is impassable due to heavy undergrowth but clears again where it has been used by farm traffic and looks in good condition. I did not check any more of the line here which runs to Stocks Farm just outside Compton as a small sign on a gate said private so I will try and get permission to view some of it.
|Trackbed leading to Stocks Farm near Compton.|
As the line comes into Compton it runs over a bridge then into the station where there were goods yards. The line round here is all built on with small industrial units and the station a private residence. A footpath runs past it and it is possible to view the building which remains in good condition.
The line itself has been filled though you can see where the platforms were and one of the old dock buildings. Looking towards Hampstead Norreys the line is overgrown but does cross the road by a bridge which is still in place. You have to view this from the road as properties border the ends which are fenced off.
Going on towards Hampstead Norreys the line crossed a road at Compton Crossing and the crossing house is still there with the line used as a garden, looking from there to Compton you can make out where it ran. The other way the embankment remains though very overgrown. More investigation is needed in this area.
|Boundary Fence End|
Heading on to Hampstead Norreys the line ran under the road near Uplands, the bridge still remains in use by local traffic and farm traffic runs under the bridge. It was recently cleared when I last visited revealing the old fencing and the rails they used as end stops. Looking along the line either way from the bridge all traces of the line have been erased and you have to look hard towards Hamptsead Norreys before you see the embankment again.
|Hampstead Norreys Station|
When you get to Hampstead Norreys you find little to show there was a station there apart from a footpath and the base of the one ton crane from the goods yard though I must admit I need to go back for another look around.
The bridge is there and you can walk under it on the way to the village hall. The railway turned right after the bridge and you can walk along it still as many locals do with their dogs.
Hapstead Norreys Bridge
|Railbed outside Hampstead Norreys|
|Four Elms bridge|
Along the section you pass over two bridges before coming to Four Elms Bridge via a cutting. The bed round here is over grown with trees and the far side of the bridge looks quite hard to navigate
|Cutting at Hemitage|
Heading along the road you can follow the line to Hermitage but just prior to the village it gets cut in two by the M4, pull into Pinewood close and you can walk along the old cutting to the M4 embankment.
Part of the close is built on the line and the rest is fenced off awaiting building on. Go round to chapel lane and you will cross a bridge. If you stop at the bottom and look towards the line you can see a small play area that is Pinewood halt.
|Playground beside Pinewood Halt|
This was the most taxing of places to find. Very little is there to tell you what used to be there only the bridge and the footpath leading away on the far side. Looking towards Hermitage station is imposable due to high conifer trees and properties built on the line. The bridge itself is in good condition though a rather wicked looking fence has been erected to stop any one going through and entering the properties beyond over the fence.
I did manage to scrabble down the other side to view the bridge which like I said was in good condition but the area beside the fencing has been used to dumping grass cuttings and various other debris and I could not work out if it belonged to one of the properties. Further along the line crossed the Yattendon road but nothing remains to say there was a bridge, the embankment is one
|Where the Yattendon road bridge used to be.|
The bridge is in good condition and has a flat deck making me think it was replaced at some time. To the right of the bridge looking through it to Slanting Hill side you will see a track, this I believe to be the original entrance to Hermitage station or at least to the goods yard.
|Entrance to Hermitage station|
To get to Hermitage station you need to go back to the main road and drive down a straight road that leads to the station. This was a private road which once used to lead to the British Rail cold store which was a huge building. It was demolished and a housing estate built there.
The Station is nearby and privately owned and the yard is used by a Diamond Drilling company. Externally the building looks in good condition though I have yet to go back and ask to view the other side.
|Red Shute Hill Bridge|
|Fishers Lane Crossing.|
|Line at Fishers Lane Cross|
The crossing keepers house is still there though the building by the crossing was demolished a few years back.
In the hedge you can find old railing used as fence posts but looking towards Shaw the railway is now farmland and you have little Idea as to where it would have been.
|River Lambourne Bridge|
|The Lambourn Bridge crossing point|
The Bridge that went over the River Lambourn has been demolished and a footbridge marks the place now. If you look you can see evidence of the old railway bridge. A wall marks the line going towards Newbury and a car park has been built on the part near the bath road
This would have been an embankment as a bridge took the line over the A4 London road to the bridge over the Kennet. Now from the A4 to the canal is a wasteland with a pond, the embankment removed.
Photo came from the Facebook group from a friend who is a member.
|Rail Boundary Post.|
By the Kennet you can find the fence ends (made of old rail line) which were either side of the embankment, by the river is a retaining wall.
Looking back to where the bridge would have been
The fence in front is where the line used to run to Didcot
|Where the Didcot branch joins the main line.|
The Didcot Bay Platform which is still in use today.
This is looking towards the Boundary Road Bridge where on the left you can see the exit for the line that would have gone to Didcot.
Newbury Station as it is today with the Didcot Bay Platform at the end on the left. I doubt the place has changed much since it was built. On the opposite side were the Southampton Bay platforms but they have now been demolished and a carpark built in it's place.
Since writing this I have been down to the Enborne Junction to check out what I could see and can confirm there is nothing there now. The Enborne bridge is still there as is a cutting and it is possible to see where the line went across the field to join the main line.
The next part running to Southampton will take a little more work and investigation but I do know that a lot of the line it still there and the Enborne Junction was the start the rest will take a little time
More photo's can be seen on Flickr
This blog was first published back in 2012