The Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Line

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright January 2012, Bill Nicholls; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


This railway has fascinated me from the time I realised it was there. Fact is I knew of it as a teenager when I used to go to Didcot travelling through the arch of the bridge on Lower Broadway by Riches Sidings on my way to visit a girlfriend or go to the motorcycle shop. I also remember travelling over the bridge at Upton by the station there. Years down the line and both bridges have gone and a new road has been built through Didcot on the line of the old railway. This story starts when I noticed some work happening at one of the old bridges along from Upton, I found out to my disgust that a local waste company was filling in a cutting. I felt it was time to record what I could before it all disappeared so, starting with the bridge at Chilton I set out. I will concentrate on what is left of the railway between Didcot and Newbury and where the railway used to run. From Newbury to Southampton I will attempt to cover later with photos from Geograph. Some history about the line can be read here LinkExternal link .
I have also written a blog on this. LinkExternal link




1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5290 : Ex-GWR 'City of Truro' at Didcot by Ben Brooksbank SU5290 : Down empties passing Didcot by Ben Brooksbank
We start at Didcot station which has been refurbished over the years and now the old bay where the line terminated and started has gone though the Platform edges are still visible as is the line of the old railbed. If you look to the left of Ben Brookbank's photo you can see the line going in the bay and on the second one the train is entering the old bay.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5290 : The Didcot to Newbury Bay by Bill Nicholls SU5290 : Car park in the bay by Bill Nicholls SU5290 : End of the platform by Bill Nicholls
The station was modernised back in the 1980's and called Didcot Parkway; in doing so they removed both Swindon and Newbury Bay platforms, though you can still see the platform edges from the carpark.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5290 : The Oxford side by Bill Nicholls SU5290 : Under the canopy by Bill Nicholls
Looking at the station it has changed a bit since it was opened but the Brunel awnings are still there.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5290 : Lights to the Orchard Centre by Bill Nicholls SU5390 : Richs Sidings on a misty morning by Bill Nicholls
Heading on away from the station the point where the branch left the main line can still be made out. The place is where the traffic light to the Orchard Centre takes you. The embankment there took the line into Riches Sidings

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5390 : Hitchcock Way by Bill Nicholls SU5390 : Looking towards the bridge by Bill Nicholls
and a little further along the branch line left on its way to Newbury. The road marks it route to the roundabout

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5390 : Traffic lights at the Roundabout by Bill Nicholls SU5389 : Bending away by Bill Nicholls SU5389 : Disappears in the mist by Bill Nicholls SU5288 : Old Dog on the Cycleway by Des Blenkinsopp
but sadly the bridge I remember was removed many years before along with Jobes Dairy just off to the right. The embankment is still there and now used as a footpath and cycleway.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5288 : Under the bride by Bill Nicholls SU5288 : Top of the bridge by Bill Nicholls SU5288 : Towards Upton by Bill Nicholls SU5288 : On to Didcot by Bill Nicholls SU5288 : Seats on the Old Railway by Des Blenkinsopp
The railway crosses the road at East Hagbourne

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5187 : Railway bridge over the track between East and West Hagbourne by Roger Templeman SU5187 : Didcot to Upton cycle path, near West Hagbourne by Phil Champion
then across a bridge by Grove Farm

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown CopyrightSU5187 : Bridge over the track by Bill Nicholls SU5187 : Path up route 44 by Bill Nicholls SU5187 : Route 44 to Didcot by Bill Nicholls
and over another bridge as it comes into Upton.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown CopyrightSU5187 : Further up the line by Bill Nicholls
The cycle route finished a little was after the bridge, from there a path continues though this is one made by the person whose house now sits across part of the old line

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5186 : Station from the road by Bill Nicholls SU5186 : Beeching Close by Bill Nicholls
Upton Station would have been next.It is now a private house, ironically the local council chose to name the close built on the goods yard after the person who brought about the demise of the line

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown CopyrightSU5186 : Station Road on the right by Bill Nicholls SU5186 : No more bridge by Bill Nicholls SU5186 : Route 44 uphill by Bill Nicholls SU5186 : Reading that way by Bill Nicholls SU5186 : Hedge hides the line by Bill Nicholls
The line used to go under a bridge just out of the station which I do remember going over as a kid. It was demolished to straighten the road but the bridge would have been somewhere in the following photos.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5086 : The Upton Cutting by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Towards Chilton by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : The cutting side by Bill Nicholls
From here the railway ran past Chilton through a series of cuttings for the next two miles. A house is built on the end near the road and another at the top of the cutting. The cutting itself is in good condition and used by the surrounding properties as a walk to the footpath.
LinkExternal link

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5086 : Track in the railbed by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Track towards Upton by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Posts in the moss by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Looking back to the stile by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Tensioners in the post by Bill Nicholls
The line then runs level with the pasture next to it for a short distance

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5086 : Going towards Upton by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Inspection hole in the cutting by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Looking along the cutting by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Looking along the cutting by Bill Nicholls
before heading back into a longer cutting, along which you can see some of the old cable runs with open inspection holes. Much of this is impassable due to the shrubbery which has grown there over the years.

1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright SU5086 : View from top of cutting towards bridge over the trackbed of the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway by Roger Templeman SU5086 : Back to Upton Bridge by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Wreck by the mark by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Chilton side by Bill Nicholls SU5086 : Bridge from the cutting by Bill Nicholls
Further on you come to the Upton Bridge which is in very good condition and even has a benchmark on it. Take care if you go down the side as it is very steep.

KML

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