The Branch Lines of Berkshire
Series: The Branch Lines of ...
- Colin Maggs MBE
15th March 2011
Most of the branch lines of Berkshire were offshoots of the Great Western Railway, although the company was not without its competitors: both the South Eastern Railway and the London and South Western Railway gave alternative routes to London. While many lines only provided local services, two in this area linked the industrial Midlands with the south coast - the Reading to Basingstoke line and the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway. The latter was a busy route during the Second World War, when it carried troops and supplies to the coast for the invasion of Normandy in 1944. Another branch is that from Slough to Windsor. A special royal station was built at Windsor, and the line has carried the funeral train of every British sovereign since Queen Victoria. Less well known, the Wantage Tramway was worked by ordinary steam engines and main line wagons, despite its name. All Berkshire's branch lines are described here in an entertaining and informative text that introduces the county's main railway routes before describing the branch lines in detail. Their history is outlined, together with many amusing or tragic incidents that occurred. Illustrated throughout with photographs, ephemera associated with the lines, and maps, The Branch Lines of Berkshire will be of interest to railway enthusiasts and local historians alike.