Monday, 16 May 2011
The Didcot Newbury Southampton Railway nears completion
The full public service between Newbury and Didcot opened the following day. There were to be five passenger trains each way on weekdays only, with no passenger service at the weekends. Sir Robert and Lord Carnarvon were frank about their inexperience of actually running a railway. They therefore opted to contract in services from the GWR. The GWR provided engines, rolling stock and train crew for the services that ran on the DNS in return for 60%, later reduced to 51.5%, of the fares and freight charges.
The GWR usually provided tank engines for use on the Newbury-Didcot section of the DNS. At first this was because of the lack of a turntable, which was planned for further south. When the southern section of the line was completed, with its turntable, tender engines could and did run from Newbury to Didcot. The tanks remained more usual, however, with engines of the 2-4-0 Metropolitan or 2-6-2 6100 classes being common. Passenger coaches were almost always older rolling stock that the GWR did not want to use on its own lines and routes.
In 1883 Loyd-Lindsay suffered a sudden bout of serious ill health. His doctor ordered complete rest and a prolonged holiday in sunnier climes. Carnarvon turned to James Forbes, who was already Chairman of the London, Chatham & Dover Railway, to take over. It was Forbes who abandoned the idea of pushing the DNS line to Southampton docks, opting to link with the LSWR at Winchester instead. And it was Forbes who oversaw the opening of the line along its entire length in 1891.