The Anonymous Widower

Wallingford Station: Historic Railway Canopy Finds New Home

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

These are the first three paragraphs.

A historic canopy over a railway station platform that was in danger of being junked has found a new home.

The structure at Maidenhead in Berkshire had to be taken down because of electrification works needed for the Crossrail scheme.

It was painstakingly relocated to Wallingford Station in Oxfordshire and restored over seven years.

Judging by the comments in the article, it sounds like a job well done!

These paragraphs give the comments of TV historian; Tim Dunn.

TV historian Tim Dunn, who was present at the unveiling, called the canopy “one of a kind”.

“The fact that it’s been brought up bit by bit and rebuilt finally gives this railway a portal to the rest of the town,” he added.

“This is a brand new entrance to Wallingford.”

Does Tim Dunn imply anything more by the final statement?

Is There A Possibility Of The Restoration Of A Passenger Service Between Cholsey And Wallingford?

Consider these factors.

Great Western Railway Seem To Have a Policy Of Developing Their Branch Lines

In GWR To Test Battery Train On Branch Line, I said this.

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Rail Business UK.

This is the first paragraph.

Great Western Railway has invited expressions of interest in trialling a battery powered train on the 4 km non-electrified branch line from West Ealing to Greenford in west London.

The article says that Vivarail have made a previous proposal, but other companies are also likely to declare their interest.

Later in the related article, Mark Hopwood, who is Managing Director of Great Western Railway, indicated that they were looking for a modern zero-carbon solution for all of the branch lines, which they doubt would ever be electrified.

If GWR had a fleet of battery trains, then they could probably handle the two-and-a-half miles of the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway, provided the traffic was there, to make the service worthwhile.

Wallingford

Wallingford is a town of nearly twelve thousand inhabitants and many smaller towns and villages in England, have a regular rail service.

Cholsey Station

Cholsey station has two trains per hour (tph) between Paddington and Didcot Parkway stations, with extra services between Oxford and Reading stations in the Peaks.

This Google Map shows Cholsey station.

Note.

  1. Four through platforms for Great Western Railway services.
  2. Platforms 1 and 2 for the fast services are on the Western side.
  3. Platforms 3 and 4 for the slow services are on the Eastern side.
  4. Bay Platform 5 is tucked in the North-East corner of the station and is the terminus for services on the Cholsey And Wallingford Railway.
  5. There are only 55 parking spaces.

Is the number of parking spaces sufficient for the station, if a lot of passengers drive from Wallingford?

Could Battery-Electric Trains Handle The Service Between Cholsey And Wallingford?

As GWR has decided to look for battery-electric trains for their branch lines and this is only a five mile round trip, I think we can assume, that the battery-electric trains of the type, that Great Western Railway chooses, will be able to work this branch.

Intriguingly, the Greenford Branch Line is also 2.5 miles long and a round trip takes under thirty minutes, although the service is only hourly.

I feel that a well-driven single battery-electric train can provide two tph on the branch.

Charging would probably be needed at only one end of the branch line.

As all the through lines at Cholsey station are electrified with 25 KVAC overhead wires, I suspect that charging would be provided at that station.

Conclusion

I think it would be possible to provide a two tph service on the Cholsey and Wallingford branch line, using a battery-electric train.

July 2, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Wallingford isn’t a First Great Western branch; it’s owned/operated by the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, a preserved line (https://www.cholsey-wallingford-railway.com/).

    That doesn’t rule out testing a battery unit on the branch – preserved railways are quite often used for trials these days – but I doubt that steam enthusiasts will welcome FGW barging in and spoiling the ambience of the old (pre-nationaalisation) Great Western Railway on the branch.

    Comment by Stephen Spark | July 2, 2021 | Reply

    • While I’m all in favour of heritage railways, I’m sure some accommodation could be found to enable GWR to run trains on the branch. Perhaps the people of Wallingford should be asked whether their priority is a tourist railway or a railway that is more useful to them.

      Comment by JohnC | July 3, 2021 | Reply

      • GWR have given some funding to the Bodmin and Wenford Railway.

        https://bodminrailway.co.uk/all/bodmin-wenford-railway-successfully-secure-funding-towards-second-platform-project/

        At Bodmin General, I could see advantages to both parties if GWR ran Castles or perhaps even battery-electric Class 800 trains between Bodmin General and Plymouth.

        I’ve also heard several travellers complain about Bodmin Parkway, when they want to go to Bodmin.

        South Western Railways are also looking at using the Swanage Railway to bring commuters and shoppers into Poole and Bournemouth,

        Note that SWR are another First Group company.

        It looks to me, that First Group see benefits in providing long distance services to connecting heritage lines.

        After all, they already co-operated over the Maidenhead station roof, which is now installed at Wallingford.

        I am one of the few people, who have ridden in two electric and one hydrogen train in public service.

        They are very quiet and their passengers like them, so a battery electric train to Wallingford could in itself be a passenger traffic generator.

        GWR need a route to test whether putting battery electric trains on a branch line is an exercise worth doing. Perhaps one of Vivarail’s battery trains running between Cholsey and Wallingford, would be a good test.

        Comment by AnonW | July 3, 2021

    • A few of the Beeching Reversal projects involve running services on heritage railways or connecting to them.

      Beeching Reversal – Goodrington and Churston Stations

      Beeching Reversal – Reopening Wymondham-Dereham Line

      Beeching Reversal – Project Wareham – Complete The Link

      Beeching Reversal – Upper Wensleydale Railway

      Beeching Reversal – Restoration Of A Daily Train Service On The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway

      Beeching Reversal – The Aston Rowant Extension Of The Chinnor Railway

      Most of these would be as difficult to restore as the Dartmoor Line to Okehampton.

      It just needs a fair deal to be made. I suspect that the biggest earners will be.

      1. Commuter/shopping traffic to the nearest large town or city.
      2. Heritage experience day trips.
      3. Onward journeys on National Rail.

      I suspect any deal will involve a revenue split on the heritage railway.

      Wallingford could be a good place to start, as it’s a town of 12,000 people with several thousand fossil-fueled cars.

      Comment by AnonW | July 3, 2021 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: