A short story by Tim Calloway Along the Lambourn valley there used to run a railway line through the picturesque Berkshire landscape. Originally planned in 1881, it took some 17 years to become a reality and opened for passenger traffic on the 2nd April 1898. It was neither a famous nor particularly efficient railway service: it took some 40 minutes to travel the 12 short miles from Lambourn to Newbury station's bay platform 3 but at the time it was a lifeline to the village of Lambourn and its surroundings.
Recent history tells us that the last train to travel the line, before partial closure, was the 5.20pm on the 4th January 1960. Experts will also say that the very last passenger train to run from Newbury to Welford took place on the 3rd November 1973. But there is another, most remarkable journey, that took place in 1978, never told until now. This is my story.
I hope that this venture will become the definitive site for The Lambourn Valley Railway. Living here in the valley as I do, I am well placed for the gathering of local pictures, stories and memorabilia.
However, one can never have too much material and this is where you, may be able to help. Do you, or someone you know, have anything connected with The LVR that might be of interest to other enthusiasts?
I am looking for any LVR item, no matter how small, for inclusion on the website. I am extremely interested in any video of the LVR that may be in existence.
The satirists' view
Nostalgia - is it all it's cracked up to be?
Dewy-eyed though I, and possibly even you, dear reader, may become at the thought of a plucky little branch line engine puffing its way up and down a quiet rural branch line, I can't help but be reminded of the darker side - one that we're not encouraged to consider.
For example, take the coal that powered our visions. The best quality coal demanded by steam engines came from miners deep underground doing incredibly dangerous jobs. Shunters performed very dangerous jobs in the dark wee hours; it's remarkable how many survived. The engine's tubes were cleaned out by (often) young lads at 3.30am in order to get the loco ready for the off at five or six in the morning. Station clerks had to grapple with a blizzard of forms, and received little or no mechanical help for some of the complex calculations they were asked to perform.
Not to denigrate the romance of steam: although many saw and still see its demise as a good thing, we're addicted to it, so heritage railways and the like are unlikely to disappear.