The Lambourn Valley Railway
The Lambourn Valley Railway (LVR) was a minor branch railway line running from the town of Newbury, Berkshire north-west to the village of Lambourn. It was opened in 1898. In 1904, the locomotives were sold and two steam railmotors were hired from the Great Western Railway (GWR). The GWR took over the line in 1905.
The line closed to passenger traffic in 1960, but a section between Newbury and Welford remained open for freight traffic to RAF Welford until 1973. A special passenger service operated on 3 November 1973 between Newbury and Welford Park to give the public a final trip over the line; a nine-coach train made four runs in each direction, and unusually, a special souvenir booklet was produced.Midland & South Western Junction Railway 2-4-0, later GWR No. 1335, nears Welford Park with an up Lambourn Valley train. J.F.Russell-Smith
At the opening, there were seven intermediate stations; after Newbury, where the GWR station was used, these stations were Speen, Stockcross, Boxford, Welford Park, West Shefford, East Garston and Eastbury, before the terminus at Lambourn. The line ran from a bay platform at Newbury with a connection into the main London-bound platform, and ran parallel to the double track main line west of the station for half a mile (800 m) before veering to the north. It was single-track throughout with passing loops at several of the intermediate stations. Two of the stations were soon renamed (Stockcross becoming Stockcross & Bagnor, and West Shefford becoming Great Shefford). After the GWR took over, a further station was opened at Newbury West Fields Halt between Newbury and Speen, whilst two existing stations (Stockcross & Bagnor, and Eastbury) were downgraded to halts on 9 July 1934.A pre-war shot on the Lambourn Valley line, with an 0-6-0 shedding its load. – Lens of Sutton
The connection to RAF Welford was added in the 1950s. The line north of this point was lifted in 1962.
Currently there are no plans for re-opening the disused branch line for running trains since closed in 1973. Today, the old railway remained open as a track route, known as the Lambourn Valley Way.Ex-MSWJ 2-4-0 later GWR No. 1336, brings the daily goods down the branch during the summer of 1947. J.F.Russell-Smith
From the opening of the line on 4 April 1898 until the delivery of the LVR’s first locomotives in late 1898, the line was worked by a locomotive loaned from the GWR. This was their no. 1384, a small 2-4-0T which they had acquired from the Watlington and Princess Risborough Railway in 1883; it was built in 1876. Altogether the LVR owned three locomotives:
Aelfred, Chapman and Furneaux 0-6-0T, built October 1898 (works no. 1162)
Eahlswith, Chapman and Furneaux 0-6-0T, built November 1898 (works no. 1161)
Eadweade, Hunslet Engine Company 0-6-0T, built June 1903 (works no. 811)
Although produced by two different manufacturers, the three were generally similar: they were outside cylinder 0-6-0T locomotives with 3-foot-7-inch (1,090 mm) wheels, but Eadweade was slightly larger than the others: its wheelbase was 10 feet 6 inches (3.20 m) and it weighed 24 long tons (24 t) as opposed to 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m) and 23.5 long tons (23.9 t) for the other two. Eahlswith and Aelfred were painted dark blue, lined out in black and white. Eadweade was painted similarly, but had a copper-capped chimney and a brass safety valve cover. Nameplates were brass, with red backgrounds. On 15 May 1904, the LVR hired two steam railmotors from the GWR, and the locomotives were put up for sale. They were sold to the Cambrian Railway in June 1904, where Eadweade became no. 24, Ealhswith became no. 26, and Aelfred became no. 35.Dean Goods No.2532 heads a Lambourn to Newbury train in the summer of 1947. J.F.Russell-Smith