Thursday, 3 May 2012

Work statrs on the Didcot Newbury & Southampton Railway

On 26 August 1879 Lady Carnavon performed the ceremonial turning of the first sod in the construction of the Didcot Newbury & Southampton Railway. The ceremony took place in a field next to the London Road at Didcot. It was an inauspicious start as torrential rain fell all day and everyone involved was soaked to the skin. Nevertheless work was underway. Loyd-Lindsay became Chairman of the Board and recruited as his fellow directors W.G. Mount, MP for Newbury and John Walter, the then owner of the Times newspaper. The highly experienced John Fowler was hired as Engineer while Falkiner & Tancred were engaged as the contractors for construction.

With such impressive backers, the DN&SR had little trouble raising money. A total of £300,000 was raised by selling shares and another £98,800 by the sale of a debenture stock paying 5%. Thus equipped with funds, the DN&SR began construction work. The first section to be built was the 17 miles between Didcot and Newbury, the part of the line that lay in Berkshire. Although only a single track was laid down, the roadway, bridges and other features were all built to allow for a double track as it was confidently expected that the railway would one day be so busy as to justify the improvement.

from LOST RAILWAYS OF BERKSHIRE by Rupert Matthews. Buy your copy HERE

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