Didcot to Winchester
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Didcot to Winchester (Country Railway Routes)
Vic Mitchell and Kevin Robertson
1 901706 133
A dramatic picture of the City of Truro entering Winchester Chesil adorns the cover of this book. The Didcot to Winchester line was steeply graded and passed through thinly populated areas. It came into its own during wartime as a line of great strategic importance. There trains in this book are almost steam with a couple of diesels and one DEMU.
Vic Mitchell's books have a common format starting with the geographical setting, historical background and a description of the train services before discussing each line and the stations on it (with many early pictures and maps). There are plenty of timetables, maps, images of tickets, railway company notices etc.throughout the book. The books are reliant on old photographs being available and when a station appears in more than one book, the authors endeavour to put different pictures. They are a must for anyone planning to model specific places
Starting at Didcot, the line passes through Upton & Blewbury, where there is a picture of a horsebox body being used as a parcels shed, to Churn, a bleak area where there was only a platform for the National Rifle Association and annual military camps and no road access. Compton station features a picture of a horse, normally used for moving wagons in the yard, on the main line amongst photos of steamers.
Hampstead Norris is next followed by Pinewood Halt, Hermitage, and a short section on South of Hermitage which features a photograph of Newbury East Junction before Newbury itself is reached where there is a circa 1910 photo of the station complete with horse and cart.
Enborne Junction heralds the start of a four mile 1 in 106 gradient where the is a picture of 34076 41 Squadron tackling the climb. Woodhay, Highclere, Burghclere follow before a short section entitled South of Burghclere where there are turn of the century pictures of steam trains on the descent to Litchfield. There is a rather sad picture of a run down Litchfield station that had once won prizes for its gardens along with images of passenger and freight steam trains and a shot showing the aftermath of part of the walls of the chalk cutting having collapsed.
Amongst the pictures of the next station on the line, Whitchurch, are two incidents of the results of the ‘fast goods’ from Banbury running out of control and coming off the tracks.
Moving through Sutton Scotney to Worthy Down where a platform and sidings were constructed in 1917 for the Royal Flying Corps. Amongst the pictures there is a diesel pulling empty oil tanks from the Midlands to the South Coast refineries and a dramatic two page image of a war time passenger train arriving at this bleak location.
The line passes through Winchester Junction, where there is an interesting shot of a U class and a 4 2-6-0 passing over Springvale road with rake of Esso tankers (with two empty wagons acting as a barrier between them and the engines) before it reaches Kings Worthy, with a turn of the century image and signalling diagrams of the loop. Passing though Winnall where there is a shot of American soldiers, complete with shovels, preparing to construct a branch line to a military camp and hospital on Morn Hill.
The book ends with sections on Winchester Chesil, Bar End goods and Shawford Junction.
All of Middleton Press books are in black and white.