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Along the Line

The station cafe is housed in this historic Cambrian
Railway coach The Cholsey and Wallingford Railway is a two and a half mile branchline that links the historic riverside town of Wallingford with the Great Western mainline at Cholsey. We start our journey at Wallingford station which is about half a mile from Wallingford town centre. Whilst in Wallingford, it is worth exploring the historic town. Once the home of the monarchy, the town boasts remains of a castle, saxon fortifications and has a charter that was first granted in 1155. You can find out more in Wallingford Museum. The River Thames runs through Wallingford and is its banks are a pleasant place to sit, or for a stroll on a summers day.

The Wallingford station site is not the original site of the station. This was located a few hundred yards further East, and was sadly demolished around 1969. The current station site was once the home of the large Paul’s Maltings, which was demolished in 2003.

City of Truro, heading the wrong way across
 the Wallingford bypass crossing, June 2005 The station currently has a single platform which shall suffice until the society is able to develop the site. On departing from the platform, the train crosses Bradford’s Brook a small tributary of the River Thames. The line then falls into a shallow cutting as it curves to the right, as the houses of Wallingford immediately give way to the open countryside.

We have not left Wallingford entirely however, as we now cross the Wallingford bypass on a modern barrier crossing. The society successfully fought to save the line from being severed at this point when the bypass was built.

5542 at Winterbrook Lane, heading for Cholsey, on a wintery afternoon,
 December 2005 Within a few metres another crossing of the line is made on a very different scale. This is Winterbrook Lane occupation crossing, protected by hand operated gates, rather than modern flashing lights.

Red Kite near Cholsey.  Photo: Kevin Harvey As the line continues to swing to the right, we head on across the fields of South Oxfordshire. Looking back to the right of the train, you can see Wittenham Clumps in the distance. This distinctive pair of hills, is a local landmark, and was once home to ancient tribes.

Look out for the elegant Red Kite, which can frequently be seen swooping overhead.

08 seen heading towards Wallingford on Winterbrook Curve The line then crosses another small occupation crossing, known as green lane. This crossing gives access to nearby Hill Green Farm as was rebuilt by the society in 2006. The line then bends to the left before straightening up and crossing the third farm crossing on the line at Manor Farm, Cholsey. Shortly after this is the only road-over bridge on the line. This is Church Bridge or “Bunk Bridge” and is thought by some to be where the line got its name.

Cholsey Church, where Agatha Christie is buried To the right of the line, you can see Cholsey Parish Church. This church is where the author Agatha Christie is buried. The line at this point forms the edge of Cholsey and the recreation ground can be seen on the left hand side. It is close to this point that the Royal train was once frequently stabled. On the left, you may be able to see the remains of the telephone point, that royal train staffed once used.

At this point, is the largest gradient on the line, as it climbs steeply and bends to the left.

5542 on Bulls Hole Bridge, December 2005 The mainline is now in sight as the line continues to swing left, pinchs over Bulls Hole Bridge and into the bay of Cholsey station. Apart from the removal of some canopies, Cholsey station is largely in tact and as it was when built. Our trains still run into the bay platform, as they have always done since this station was built.

City of Truro pulls into Cholsey Plaform 5.  Photo: Kevin Harvey Previously known as “Cholsey and Moulsford”, this is not the original station in Cholsey. The original station, known as “Wallingford Road” was situated several hundred yards further down the main-line.

© 2006 Cholsey & Wallingford Railway Preservation Society. Last updated on the 4th January 2006.
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