Wallingford and Watlington Railway, Landmark & Historical Place, Wallingford

The Wallingford railway branch line was a short branch line in Oxfordshire, connecting the market town of Wallingford with the nearby Great Western Railway main line.It was planned as part of a line continuing to Watlington, but money ran out and the continuation was never made. The branch line opened in 1866. It had a frequent passenger shuttle service, connecting with main line trains.It closed to passengers in 1959, although goods use kept the line in use until 1981.A heritage railway, the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway has taken over most of the line and operates vintage train services.OriginsThe Great Western Railway opened its first broad gauge main line in stages; from Reading to Steventon was opened on 1 June 1840; there was a station called Wallingford Road, located immediately to the east of the road that now forms the A329. The station was about three miles from Wallingford itself.The prosperity of towns served by railways increased considerably, as manufactures could be transported to market much more cheaply, and communities not directly served by a railway were at a disadvantage accordingly. Watlington, with a population in 1851 of 1,884, suffered in the early part of the nineteenth century from poor road communications, at a time when transport and trade were becoming important, and other settlements were flourishing.

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