The Anonymous Widower

A Station For Marlborough

Marlborough once had a pair of stations, as this map of the railways in the town shows.


Note the various stations in an area, where Marlborough the largest town has a population of 8,395.

This railway map shows the important Reading to Taunton Line that passes to the South of Marlborough. This Google Map shows that line as it crosses the A346 road.

The Reading to Raunton Line South Of Marlborough

The Reading to Raunton Line South Of Marlborough


There would also appear to be tracks of disused railways leading North-Westerly from Bedwyn towards Marlborough.

If Marlborough and the surrounding area were to be given a better rail connection, I would think that a possible solution would be a parkway station, perhaps where the A346 crosses the railway and the canal.

It should be born in mind, that modern trains are designed to perform fast stops at stations, so the extra station at Marlborough would not be the time penalty, it was a few years ago.

Transition Marlborough’s Proposal

But a local action group called Transition Marlborough have their own plans for a Marlborough Rail Link, which as this graphic shows are more ambitious.


Their plans would involve restoring and electrifying the line to Marlborough, where a well-positioned station will be built.

These are my initial thoughts.

  • The route of the line appears feasible.
  • Electrification may be a problem given Network Rail’s expertise in this area.
  • Bedwyn would not appear to be the best terminus for a line to London.
  • I’ve not been to Bedwyn station, but I suspect it could be a bleak place in some kinds of weather.

After I wrote this list, a kind soul in the area sent me this message.

You’ll find that Bedwyn station is a pretty bleak place, especially in Winter. To reach it by road from Marlborough involves a 7.5 mile road trip, at least 3 miles of which is on an unmarked road through a forest. Bedwyn station is almost inaccessible for people without cars, as the connecting bus service is poor and unreliable.

My Version Of The Proposal

I think the best solution could be to create a single-track railway without electrification to a simple station with adequate parking at the proposed Salisbury Road Business Park location.

I would put the station in the car park of the Tesco supermarket in this Business Park.

The distance between Reading and Marlborough by train would be about 37 miles. Network Rail’s plans to electrify the line between Reading and Bedwyn are probably best described as fluid, but I suspect that electrification to Newbury could be possible, which would mean that only twenty miles between Paddington and Marlborough would be unwired.

So this would mean that when inevitably an electric train with onboard energy storage has a range of forty miles, Marlborough could get a modern electric service to and from Paddington.

The advantages of this strategy are as follows.

  • No ugly overhead catenary marching across the country.
  • Work would only include restoring a single track railway and building a simple no-frills station at Marlborough.
  • Marlborough station would not have any electrification and could be designed like a tram stop.
  • Fast Environmentally-friendly electric trains to and from Reading and Paddington.
  • The route would be designed for six-car trains in case Marlborough College put on a free concert featuring the Rolling Stones.
  • The route could be designed to allow two trains per hour (tph), as opposed to the current one tph service to and from Bedwyn.
  • Marlborough to Paddington would have a maximum time of around 80 minutes.

But the biggest advantage is that the scheme is that it could be affordable.

This article on the BBC is entitled Marlborough £30m railway line restoration plan.

If this branch line is developed as I believe Network Rail are now thinking, there could be money left over for a good launch party!


With the next generation of electric train with onboard energy storage or IPEMUs, a Marlborough station on a new Marlborough Branch Line can be used to create a two tph service to and from Paddington to replace the current one tph service from Bedwyn.

So a new Marlborough station would be a win for all those using stations on the Reading to Taunton Line to the East of Pewsey.

I also wonder how many other similar services can be developed by extending a service past a main line terminal to a new or reopened branch line, which is built without electrification and run using trains with onboard energy storage.





February 18, 2017 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. […] Marlborough is a possible new station in Wiltshire. See A Station For Marlborough. […]

    Pingback by A Look At New Station Projects « The Anonymous Widower | February 18, 2017 | Reply

  2. Difficult to see how this could ever satisfy any cost benefit analysis given Marlborough’s small population and a line that would be just a spur.

    Comment by Mark Clayton | February 18, 2017 | Reply

  3. I thought that, but I suspect that the Bedwyn to Paddington line only gets one stopping train an hour, as trains are reversed at Bedwyn, where the main line is only double track, two platforms, quite a few freight trains and Devon and Cornwall expresses thundering through.

    So in some ways creating a spur to Marlborough with a fast turn off, might remove a small bottleneck

    Bedwyn also seems from my helicopter to have little car parking and Marlborough could be builr with several hundred.

    So the spur solves several problems.

    1. Marlborough gets a station.

    2. GWR get a good station to reverse trains.

    3. Everybody gets 2 tph all day.

    4. Car parking is greatly increased.

    5. GWR might be able to accelerate Devon and Cornwall trains.

    Comment by AnonW | February 18, 2017 | Reply

  4. Have a look at Somerton and Langport in Somerset, there is a petition to rebuild stations in both places and institute a frequent service between Bristol and Taunton via Castle Cary, there were stations in both places until 1966 when they were closed Underground Benching Axe, both stations have a large catchment area including, Street and Glastonbury, traffic is a big problem in the area, two of your no frills stations could do the job and maybe HST’s to London and Exeter could also call at them, with selective door opening if necessary, cheers from Simon Price

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    Comment by Simon Price | February 19, 2017 | Reply

  5. […] A Station For Marlborough, I wrote about a local plan to open a new station in the twon of Marlborough, which would be on a […]

    Pingback by Bedwyn, Didcot Parkway And Oxford Services After Crossrail Opens To Reading « The Anonymous Widower | April 21, 2019 | Reply

  6. […] I covered this proposal in A Station For Marlborough. […]

    Pingback by The High Speed Local Train « The Anonymous Widower | July 16, 2019 | Reply

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