Thursday, 20 July 2017

Electrifiation of the GWR at Cholsey

The Great Western Railway has run through Cholsey since it was first put in back in 1840. Very little has changed apart from the change over from Steam to Diesel trains. In recent years the Signal box in the station was removed along with the engine shed and sidings. The Branch line to Wallingford closed in 1961and became a Preserved Railway. The station and line never changed until 2015. Then things started to Happen like loud banging noises in the night. They had started work on Electrifying he GWR.
A couple of years previous I came across some planning applications which covered this but did not take a lot of notice, realisation hit home it was happening. I decided to record what happened with the process and this blog covers the work in progress. Some info on the process of Electrification 
I have written an article on Geograph Called GWR Electrification at Cholsey which shows the progress over the time I followed the work. For this blog I will show it in two parts which takes you though 2015 and 2016 when most of the work was finished.

I'll start here with a photo of Silly Bridge looking from Moulsford Bridge. Could not tell you how the name came. The most likely reason is that the villagers used to graze there livestock on the common land which was to the left of the bridge. They complained to Brunel the needed access and got it. The the land was enclosed and they lost it. So a bridge in a silly place now its a track used by the Farmer

You can see railings on the bridge which were put there to stop patients from the local asylum jumping off (favourite place) so another reason for calling silly Bridge. On the left is the site of the original Moulsford station before it moves a mile down the line to Chosley. you can see the new station in the photo above. What you notice about the photos which were taken around 2008 is that the line is clear pylons

These were the areas I would be concentrating on with my Photos though the main area was Cholsey Station with the view out to Silly Bridge

and through the station. I remember the signal box over on platforms 2&3 along with the canopies long gone

Think I was lucky the day I managed to take this photo of an Intercity train at Platform four with Ivor the Engine

Another view I was interested in was looking towards the Lees Bridge

Above Cholsey Station not changed a lot since it was built, I had to wonder how this would change with electrification. Well I soon found out as in 2015 you started hearing a hammering overnight and I noticed these bases had gone in beside the line

Going up onto the station I looked towards Lees Bridge and low and behold a line of pylons had appeared

The other way to Silly Bridge the first pylon appeared there

This is looking towards the bridge on the fast line from Platform one

Same to the Lees Bridge on Platform one. Not a good place to go when a fast train come through

Cholsey Station looking little changed. At this stage I wondered how it would look with pylons

Then a storage are appeared

with odd looking machines stored there

and soon enough we found  what they were for
And what was causing the hammering we heard at night

The following month I noticed marks on the platforms so had an idea where the pylons would go there

Further along from Platform four you could see two bases set in the ground waiting

August came around and the view to the Lees bridge had changed

and to silly bridge you could see more pylons in place. Railings on the bridge had gone

the reason for that was they had raised the height of the bridge

but I was still ok to get a photo looking towards Moulsford Bridge

Below Silly Bridge you could see new electrical cabinets

and the view to the station was relatively clear

getting a photo would be harder as the height with the capping in place takes it to over six foot. Moulsford Bridge had bee modified with new higher plates on the parapet

But it did not stop me reaching up with the camera and getting a photo of Silly Bridge, or one towards the viaduct

Zooming in showed the gantry's had been added on some pylons

Nearby the bridge was this transformer setup of the powering of the cables when they went in

By October more pylons were going up along with the gantry's

The View to the Lees bridge had changed as well

In November things had moved on more with shuttering in place on the station

Towards Silly Bridge gantry's were in place one side and you could see the bridge parapet had changed a little. Looking towards the Lees Bridge you could see what was to come as a train ran under the gantry's

It was looking like a  tunnel now

Platform one and a base had been constructed and covered

as the year ended I took photos of the changes  and the one nice view of the hill overlooking Cholsey had gone

By the station a base had been set and along the fast line I noticed in the distance the insulators had been fitted

The view above was taken with my camera on full zoom so it became a little blurry, the Lees Bridge is in the background. Silly Bridge was becoming lost with gantry's

By new years eve all had changed again parts were on the ground near a base at Cholsey Station and gantry's were going in place on the slow line

Silly Bridge had new coping stones on the top and though they don't look high you cannot see over the top so photos are taken by reaching up

The cutting to Moulsford Bridge was full of pylons with gantry's in place

and looking the other way to Cholsey Station seemed no different

Going to Moulsford Bridge I took some photos towards Silly Bridge

The view of the station was lost with metalwork I felt we had lost some of our history.

A look towards the Moulsford viaduct showed pylons and gantry's

many having the insulators hanging in place

Beside Moulsford Bridge I noticed a pylon and base one of which I had seen at Cholsey station a few weeks previous, now I knew what it was used for.

That was it for 2015 The next blog will bring 2016 and the finishing of the work in the area which you can read here.