Wednesday, 16 January 2013

The Abingdon Flyer changes ownership

In 1873 the open platforms of Abingdon Junction were abandoned. The branch line was extended north alongside the main line to reach the village of Radley, where a new station was built. The new stop had the advantages over the old of not only having road access, but also of being given proper station buildings and shelters over the platforms. Business boomed afresh. The line was so profitable that in 1904 the GWR offered to pay £20 for every £10 share. The shareholders agreed and the Abingdon Railway Company was bought out by the GWR.

The change of ownership made little difference to the operation of the branch line. The passenger trains were worked by a tank engine which shuttled back and forth between Radley and Abingdon, stopping overnight in the train shed at Abingdon. Although the engines changed from time to time, they tended to be of the 517 class or similar. The passenger trains consisted of four coaches, which by 1900 were of the four-wheel GWR style. In the same year the passenger train was running back and forth 16 times each day, taking a scheduled 5 minutes for the run each way.

Goods trains were worked by whichever engine was pulling them along the main line, so there was no standard vehicle running on the line. In addition to the profitable coal trade, the line also carried large quantities of animal skins to the large tannery in the town and, on Mondays, shipped out large numbers of cattle from the livestock market. By 1932 the creation of the MG car works in the town meant that the shipping out of cars had become the main freight business of the line.

from "Lost Railways of Berkshire" by Rupert Matthews

Buy your copy HERE

Book Description

4 Oct 2006 Lost Railways
This illustrated book covers the history of the county's railways from construction in the 1840s to, in many cases, closure in the 1960s. It includes Brunel's GWR mainline and branch lines to Windsor, Wokingham and Bracknell, Cookham and Steventon.

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