The Cholsey & Wallingford  Railway

  The Bunk Line - Home of the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway Preservation Society 

Signalling - the current situation

There is currently no formal signalling control, with the railway operating a "one engine in steam" principles.  This means that in normal circumstances, only one train may operate between Wallingford Station limits (Bull's Hole Bridge) and the Buffer stops at Cholsey.  This arrangement is enhanced by use of a token, which is carried by the driver of the lead locomotive of any train passing Bull's Hole Bridge (or returning to there). Four ground frames in total control the pointwork at each station, all unlocked by a key on the token.

Various additional or amended rules, in the form of written instructions or “Traffic Special Instructions” allow for some circumstances to override the one engine in steam rule, including for example: 

  • Permissive working at Wallingford Station (two trains using the platform together) 
  • Shunt release at Cholsey, a complex procedure used when the train engine is too long to run round normally 

The lack of physical signalling, and the resulting requirement for extra safeguards, makes for complicated and labour-intensive procedures. 

10 Year Plan

A decade-long investment in positive signalling control is planned,

ultimately providing:

  • A signal box at Wallingford, controlling the whole line
  • Signals at Wallingford (semaphore type, controlled directly from the signal box)
  • Signals at the mid-point Green Lane, with potential addition of a passing loop (colour light type, controlled by levers in the signal box)
  • Signals at Cholsey (Great Western searchlight type, controlled by an electronic panel in the signal box)
  • Electronic or direct control of all points from Wallingford signal box
  • Track circuiting at Wallingford, Green Lane and Cholsey
  • Direct telephones between the signal box and all signals and other key locations, with the potential to expand to a formal telephone network further around the railway
  • Provision for a halt at Cholsey Church which, whilst independent of the signalling, could potentially be delivered as part of the same package.

This scheme will be stage-worked, starting at the Wallingford end, with each stage being a further logical development. The scheme will provide a number of benefits to the railway, including capacity enhancements an improved visitor ambience.

Naturally, all of this is subject to funds and volunteer labour being available, both of which will be very welcome. Why not email, or use the contact us form, for more information, or to get involved?

What We Have, and What We Need

Thanks to our stalwart renovations man, Nartin Berry, we have been able to take stock of our inventory recently and found ourselves to be in a healthy position. For example, we have in stock many of the mechanical components we require for the first stage, signalling at Wallingford Station.

A key component is the signal bracket pictured above, which was recovered from Oxford Station, something that has provoked keen interest from signalling enthusiasts. We plan to erect this reasonably soon at Wallingford, along with some non-functional signals, to enhance the improvements being made there.

We have something of a shopping list at present, and would be grateful to hear from anyone willing to donate or sell (on favourable terms) any of these. Recognition will be given where possible and where wanted.

1. HW point motors
2. Rodding and signal wire runs
3. Wide timbers (sleepers) for points, as well as some point ends
4. Interlocking - a complete interlocking tray will need to be put together
5. Computing parts - we anticipate a fully modern, secure, wi-fi based phone network
6. Racking for stores buildings
7. Tools, particularly specialst electricians tools
8. Signals - semaphore (as well as lamps), ground-position & 2-aspect colour light
9. Box equipment - repeaters, telecoms, block shelf - anything a self-respecting 'box would need

The Level Crossing

The railway is one of only a few heritage lines in the country to cross a main road.
The CWR in preservation form pre-dates the road, and as part of the agreement to build the Wallingford By-Pass, it was agreed that Oxfordshire Highways would be responsible for all maintenance of the crossing through Oxfordshire county council (OCC).  OCC have a contract with Network Rail for all maintenance of the crossing.