Above: The Collett-designed, ex-Great Western Railway 0-6-0 loco no. 2252 simmers quietly at Lambourn, having just hauled its tender and two-coach train up the branch line from Newbury. The next job for the driver and fireman, here seen peering out of the cabin, is to uncouple the Swindon-built engine, run round the train and hook up for the trip back - or maybe shunt the good yards and trundle the next goods train down the line. This seems the most likely explanation, as the single lamp headcode describes a branch freight train. This image dates from the late 1950s.
History of a branch line from 1898-1973
It must be regarded as quite miraculous that the Lambourn Valley Railway actually existed at all as an independent company. Especially when you consider that this area was predominantly GWR country. But for seven years, exist it most certainly did.
However, in 1905, the Lambourn Valley Railway Company was swallowed up by the mighty Great Western Railway and, although it never lost any of its rural charm, the line from Newbury to Lambourn and back again became, in essence, just another GWR branch line.
For all that, however, the LVR, both as an independent line and in its subsequent GWR incarnation, possessed a unique charm and became - as so many branch lines did - an essential part of the communities through which it passed before its official closure (to passengers) in 1960.
Some of the personal stories of people who both worked on and used the line are on our recollections page so, if you have any information about the LVR that you'd like to share, please get in touch, and we'll add them to that page.
In addition, you'll find on this site links to books and models, and more about the line than you ever thought you might want to know.
This site is a homage to the Lambourn Valley Railway, both because of its inherent character and the part it played in the lives of so many people, but also as a prime example of a Great Western Railway branch line, displaying all the charm of the genre - and alas, suffering the fate of so many of its ilk, closing even before the infamous Beeching Report. While we'll never see its like again, it lives on in memories, recollections, and images: the quintessential British branch line. Manek Dubash